Today was our last day in Jerusalem. I remember the day that we arrived, four days ago, when we were all so excited and full of great anticipation about what we would see and experience during our time here in the Holy City. I think I can say with no hesitation–none of us has been disappointed! From spending time praying in the Garden of Gethsemane to visiting the Garden Tomb, from walking through the City of David to driving through the Kidron Valley, from standing on the Temple Mount and thinking about the magnificent Temple Herod built to walking through Yad Vashem and thinking about the countless Jewish lives that were destroyed in the Holocaust–this has been such a moving journey. Oh, I almost forgot about seeing the Hebrew McDonald’s…go figure.
Today, we began our day by going to the ancient City of David. More than 3,000 years ago David and his men conquered the Canaanite city of Jebus and made it the capital city of the united tribes of Israel. The excavations that are taking place in the City of David are so exciting. There are problems that the Israeli’s are having to deal with since they don’t own all of the land that they really need to continue to dig. They could buy the land but the owners will not sell.
After we went through the City of David we went through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. I think everyone who went through the ancient water channel used to bring water into the city walls was amazed and thrilled that they made the journey. It is truly remarkable to think that Hezekiah’s men tunneled through that rocky mountain so that they could bring water into the city–a brilliant move so that Israel’s enemies couldn’t cut off their water during times of war.
At the end of Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a pool, the Pool of Siloam. This was the location of the great story of Jesus’ healing of the man born blind. You can read about the story in John 9. The man, who was born blind, was the topic of discussion for Jesus’ disciples one day. They wanted to know who sinned to cause the man to be born blind–was his mom and dad or was it his sin that caused him to be blind? Jesus said, “Neither. This has happened so that the power of God might be displayed in his life.” Jesus went beyond talking about the man’s ailment, Jesus made a mixture of spit and dirt and put it on the man’s eyes. Then he told the man to go and wash in the Pool of Siloam, the very place where we were standing today. What a blessing!
After our visit to the Pool of Siloam we went to visit the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the place where both Solomon’s Temple and Herod’s Temple stood for many years, Herod’s Temple until it was destroyed in 70 A.D. There has been no Temple for the Jewish people since that time. The Moslems have control of the Temple Mount now and they have two mosques which set on top of the Temple Mount. I’m sure you have seen the golden dome mosque, the Dome of the Rock, on television before.
The Temple Mount is a strange place. Israeli police have authority and we were checked by Israeli security before we were ever given permission to enter the Temple Mount. Yet, the Moslems have the power over what can and cannot take place on the Temple Mount. We were told that we could not take our Bibles up on the Mount, nor could we pray. We did see some folks who were turned away from entering because they had a Hebrew Bible with them.
We have been so blessed to be in Jerusalem at this time. We’ve been able to see the original scroll of Isaiah in the Shrine of the Book. It has not been on display for the past forty years! We are here during the celebration of Israel’s 60th birthday and the time of their celebration for the 40th year since the reunification of Jerusalem, since the war of 1967. This is a historic time and we are here.