The ancient City of David was our first stop today. Though people rightfully refer to Jerusalem itself as the "City of David", the oldest section of the city carries that specific designation because it is the part of the city that David built when he first captured the hill when the Jebusites lived here.
As we stood on a high platform where David's palace would have stood overlooking the valley below we were reminded of the story in 2 Samuel 11 when David sinned with Bathsheba. Here is the view he would have had:
This story continues to be a sobering reminder to us today that a person reaps what they sow (Galatians 6:7-8), and that though you may choose your sin you can never choose your consequences.
From here we were able to travel Hezekiah's tunnel. This is an amazing tunnel that King Hezekiah of Judah dug in the late 8th century BC when King Nebuchadnezzar of Assyria placed the city of Jerusalem under siege seeking to starve its inhabitants so it could be easily conquered. Little did Nebuchadnezzar know that Hezekiah had dug a tunnel to bring water from the nearby Gihon spring underneath the walls of the city to sustain life! The tunnel is referenced in 2 Kings 20:20. Here is Nate coming through the tunnel:
Once we exited the tunnel it brought us to the pool of Siloam, which was the place that Jesus healed a blind man by putting mud on his eyes and telling him to wash in the pool. You can read that story in John 9. I love that this man knew very little about theology, but was still a very clear witness for what Christ had done in his life, reminding us that our best apologetic is life change. Here is our group considering this story beside the pool of Siloam:
Next we took another tunnel, called Herod's tunnel, back up to the city walls and gathered on the Southern Steps. This is the likely spot that the events of Acts 2 occurred on the day of Pentecost when the Spirit of God filled believers and the church began. 3000 people were added to the church in one day! Here is our group on these steps:
Our group was also able to visit the House of Caiaphas (Matthew 26:57), the high priest who tried Jesus on the night He was arrested. Here is our group gathered in a pit where Jesus likely may have been held as he awaited trial. It was a special moment as our group sang "Amazing Grace" while reflecting on the great gift of God's grace demonstrated in that place 2000 years ago.
Our final stop for the day was at the Herodiam, an enormous palace built by… you guessed it… Herod the Great. This is the same Herod who built Masada, the fortress I blogged about a few days ago, and the same Herod who tried to have the Messiah killed upon his birth (Matthew 2). From this palace you can clearly see the city of Bethlehem only 3 miles away in the distance. It would have been very easy for Herod to obsess over killing the one "Born King of the Jews" since he himself had not been born king, but had only been appointed king. Another interesting aspect of this site is that just 7 years ago the tomb of Herod was discovered here. It is amazing to realize that we can now walk through the ruins of a structure that once brought glory to this human king who today has no power, yet our King is still on His throne and we can serve He who loves us with an everlasting love!
Just one more day of touring before our group boards a plane to head for home. I hope you've enjoyed sharing this experience with us!