Israel Study Tour with North Coast Church

November 17-28, 2019

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The City of David


We began the day at the City of David. This is an ancient site that they’re actively excavating. This city became the capital of the unified tribes of Israel under King David. It’s not the highest mountain, so it’s difficult to defend. (Mt. Moriah is a taller mountain.)

We learned that David conquered the city from the Canaanites and Jebusites by going through the sewer system and entering the city that way (ugh).

We read 2 Samuel 10:12-2 Samuel 12 together with Chris Brown where the story of David and Bathsheba came to life. Sitting on the hillside with the ancient ruins behind us and the current city (an Aramic neighborhood) in front of us, it was easy to see how that story played itself out.

Solomon built the temple and then built himself an amazing palace somewhere nearby. After Solomon died the nation split into two (Israel to the north and Judah to the south). Neither nation had a good reputation for following God’s commands, but Israeli kings were reprehensible and led their people completely astray from God. The nation of Israel became refugees.

Judah had one real honorable king who followed God and led his people to be the same. King Hezekiah. When excavating the ruins, they found an inscription in Hebrew about Hezekiah at the location that was excavated, giving credibility to the fact that they’ve located his palace.

There was one spring that fed the whole town and there were tunnels that the Canaanites dug next to Kidron Valley to bring the water into the city. These are the tunnels King David used to take over the city.

Hezekiah moved the tunnel in order to take the focus off of the access to the city. He moved the tunnels and water to the other side of the city, allowing them to stave off attacks by the Assyrians. The tunnel was built in 701 BC. Eventually, however, Judah was also taken prisoner by the Assyrians, and the town was demolished at the same time that the temple was.

Just over half of our group chose to explore Hezekiah’s tunnel while the rest of us made our way through the dry tunnels from the Canonites.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

A 1750-foot (530m) tunnel carved during the reign of Hezekiah to bring water from one side of the city to the other, Hezekiah’s Tunnel together with the 6th c. tunnel of Euphalios in Greece are considered the greatest works of water engineering technology in the pre-Classical period. Had it followed a straight line, the length would have been 1070 ft (335m) or 40% shorter.

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We then went to the Pool of Siloam which was a very large Mikveh. We read John 9:1-41 which tells if a blind man who had muddy spit put on his eyes by Jesus, then he was told to go wash it off and he went to the Pool of Siloam to do so. Chris made the connection between the formerly blind man and us. We are to share our testimonies, just as he did, to others to introduce them to Jesus as our LORD and Savior.

After we left the Pool of Siloam, we went back to Temple Mount and walked on 1 Century BC roads next to the retaining wall. Knowing that Jesus and his disciples had literally walked those streets gave me goosebumps and a much deeper appreciation for the time and effort that went into the construction of the area. The street we were on was Cardo (the main street in every Roman town) complete with excavated ruins of the shops and banks which is where the Jews would exchange their money before they could go into the temple area and pay the tax.

The Southern Steps of the Temple was large enough for thousands of people to have assembled. Acts 2, the Day of Pentecost) accurately describes the Southern Steps and with the Pool of Shiloam so close to this area, it makes sense that the Disciples would have used that pool and the other many Mikveh’s in the area to baptize over 3,000 people in one day.

After lunch we made our way to the Holocaust Museum and we had a very sobering reminder of this part of Jewish history.

—Cheryl S

Southern Steps

An enormous flight of steps leads to the Southern Wall from the south. They were excavated after 1967 by archaeologist Benjamin Mazar and are the northernmost extension of the Jerusalem pilgrim road leading from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount via the Double Gate and the Triple Gate, collectively called the Huldah Gates. These are the steps that Jesus of Nazareth[2][3] and other Jews of his era walked up to approach the Temple, especially on the great pilgrimage festivals of Passover, Shavuot and Sukkot. [2] The stairs that lead to the double gate are intact and "well-preserved."[4] The steps that lead to the triple gate were mostly destroyed.[4] / The risers are low, a mere 7 to 10 inches high, and each step is 12 to 35 inches deep, forcing the ascending pilgrims to walk with a stately, deliberate tread.[2] The pilgrims entered the temple precincts through the double and triple gates still visible in the Southern Wall.[5][2] Together, the double and triple gates are known as the Hulda Gates, after the prophetess Huldah.[2]

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Today we visited the Yad Vashem - the Holocaust Museum in Israel. Why? To remember. Today anti-semitism is worse than in 1933. We say we know and we don’t want to think about that, but 50% of the world doesn’t know.

Social Media today is flooded with anti-Semitic posts. Did you know that 7% of the world helped the German Nazis in their efforts to create a final solution to the Jewish problem. In 1933 there were 0.5% Jewish people in Germany. Today there are 2% Jews in America. Why the anti-Semitic rise in activity?

Abraham and Ednita Spiegel (Spiegel Catalogue) of Beverly Hills, California came to Israel and wanted to build a Memorial for their son Uziel Spiegel who was killed in Auschwitz in 1944 at 5 years of age. They were told they could not build a Memorial for one child but they could build a Memorial for the 1,500,000 children that died there.

In Hebrew there is a saying “whoever saves one soul is like saving a million“.

We toured the Children’s Memorial where the children’s names that were killed in Auschwitz are repeatedly spoken in different languages, they tell their age and where they were from. A very powerful way to remember.

The Museum itself is large and you could spend days there, but the important thing is what do you take away from it? How does it change you?

It’s a trip worth taking.

—Krista Etter

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