Israel-Jordan Study Tour - Eric Schrotenboer

Jun 16-29, 2014

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Tunnel, Temple and Pool

We set out on adventure in the Old City, Jerusalem, but not first before declaring aloud the Shema!  The city wakes up with sights and sounds galore as we move along the narrow ancient streets.  Bells declare the morning is here.  We pass a nun in white, a monk in brown, a father in black.  A chorus crescendos from a byway.  We walk along third century pavers…rough yet hewn smooth by thousands of steps.  Tourists chatter, while merchants put out their wares…smells of fruit carts, fresh bread baking, the aroma of spices.  Orthodox Greeks, dressed for morning prayers, walk with passion and mission to the Wall.  Many are adorned with hats of special meaning, ringlets of curled hair framing their faces, some with scripture on their foreheads, and all with scripture in their minds and hearts!  Roosters crow the dawn and bring an eerie reminder of our own shortcomings.  As we move from the Arab quarter to the Jewish quarter, a mosaic of Moses and the Tablets adorn the entrance.  As history abounds at every corner, we are reminded of the day to day by little kittens in nooks.

Daniel and Eric teach again today with passion for our Savior, Jesus!  Daniel shows us a beautiful, tremendously large Menorah made of gold.  We learn that it along with many other articles are being made to prepare for the Third Temple when all Israel will be saved!  Arriving in the City of David, we learn that this is the largest archaeological excavation in Jerusalem.  Great care is taken, as 5 by 5 meter squares are meticulously unearthed.  Daniel shares that he has been involved in some of the excavations.  Eric shares the picture of David staying home and encountering Bathsheba while the other men are at war.  As always, vivid mental images remind us of our own failings.

We arrive at a new water adventure…Hezekiah’s water tunnel to bring water from the Gihon Spring into Jerusalem.  Isaiah guides Hezekiah to seek the Lord’s wisdom.  Four years later a miraculous underground tunnel for water is finished (1 year to plan, three to build).  We walk it in 40 minutes.  Interesting how this hard job resulted in living water…a reminder that effort results in “Living Water” being realized in our own lives!

Eric teaches from 2 Samuel 5, where we learn about David who became king when he was 30 and reigned 7 and a half years over Judah and 33 years over all Israel and Judah.  David conquered the Jebusites by coming up the water shaft we walked.  We were also probed by Eric to ponder Jesus coming to “His Father’s House”-the City of David, for Passover.  We were also led to John 9, where Jesus told a blind man to “Go wash in the Pool of Siloam (this word means “sent”).”  The man went and washed and could see!  Eric proclaimed with the scripture, “Faith is action…take the next step!”

Daniel teaches further at the ruins of the Pool of Siloam.  We learn of how the Temple is cleansed at the Feast of Tabernacles. In John 7, Eric shares of how Jesus says to drink from Him and streams of Living Water will flow from you.  Daniel takes us underground to see ancient steps leading from the pool up to the Temple…amazing that pottery unearthed here showing evidence that the Jews hid here while the Romans ransacked the Temple in 70 AD.

We walked the city walls.  Our teachers pointed to highlights like the magnificently hewn mammoth stones Herod brought to reinforce the base and corners of the Temple mount.  We marveled at what engineering feats must have taken place to build this Temple.  Eric pointed, Mark 13: 1-2, that the disciples felt the same.  Jesus pointed to the fact that not one stone will be left on another here.  Next we went to the southern steps.  Ritual baths were taken when pilgrims journeyed up to the house of God three times a year:  Passover, Shavuot, and Succoth.  The feast of Shavuot celebrated the Wheat Harvest and when God gave Moses the Law on Sinai.  Later this became the time of Pentecost.  Eric gave references to Ezekiel 1:9 where God’s spirit moved and there were living creatures like burning coals of fire and Acts 2 when the day of Pentecost came.

After lunch we journeyed towards Bethlehem stopping first at the Herodian, another of one of Herod the Great’s Palaces.  This was also where Herod was buried.  Later the Jews held out here while the Romans were taking over Jerusalem.   Eric then turned our minds to the Christmas story while we sat in a converted reception hall of Herod that was turned into a Synagogue.   Interesting how the worldly kingdom of Herod turned to rubble while Christ’s kingdom continues to grow today. Eric pointed to Bethlehem’s meaning—“The house of bread” to Jesus being the “Bread of Life”; then to the manger being a water trough and Jesus being Living Water.   Eric used scripture to validate the timing of the Christmas Story.  Mary conceived at the time of Hanukah (celebration of light) and Jesus said, “I am the light of the world”.

After dinner we ventured to the Western Wall once more to observe the beginning of the Sabbath.   We were invited by the Israeli soldiers to join in dancing and celebrating.  Interesting at the end of the day that all God’s children were worshiping together.

For the rest of us,
Jim Sosebee

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Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.

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