Israel Study tour

March 20-30, 2017

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The presence of the Lord in this place

Western Wall - Tunnel

We’ve seen the Western Wall from above, and now it was time to see it from below. Along with this tour, we saw the largest rock ever used in building. It was ginormous. A few of us left prayers in the crevices of the rocks. Even below, the Western Wall was full of people praying to God and reading scriptures.

Rabbinic Tunnels

The tour of the western wall tunnels is one of the most popular tourist sites in Jerusalem. These underground tunnels connect the western wall prayer area to the north-west side of the temple mount, passing along the side of the temple mount and under the present day houses in the Old City. Along its path are remains from the second temple period, as well as structures from later periods.

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Stations of the Cross

Shortly outside of the Western Wall is the Via Delarosa. We went through the stations of the cross. We even got to see the markings in the ground where the soldiers played their dice games.

Place of the Crucifixion/Burial

There is a bit of a debate as to where Jesus was buried. We went to the stop that the “right spot, wrong feel.” Meaning the garden tomb looks like it should be the place but the tomb at the Holy Sepulture is probably the real place. Many of us waited in line to get a glimpse at the actual rocks where the cross was laid.

City of David

One of the newer archeological spots in Jerusalem is the City of David. The findings here are shedding new light on the temple and Jerusalem in King David’s time. A spot to follow.

Hezekiah's Tunnel

When the city was defending itself from the approaching Assyrian army, King Hezekiah decided to protect the water by diverting its flow deep into the city with an impressive tunnel system. What is amazing about this tunnel is that it was built from both ends. We aren’t sure how but the two ends met in the middle.

Sewer Tunnels

Ever walk through a 2,000-year-old sewer tunnel? We have. Super narrow in many spots this tunnel went from the temple all the way down to the Pools of Siloam (the place Jesus put the mud on the blind man’s eyes to make him see again).

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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South Wall Steps

We ended the day at the steps of the south wall. These were the steps where people walked into the temple (unless they were mourning). It was on these same steps that Jesus did much of his teaching. Josh gave us time to sit and reflect. You could feel the presence of the Lord in this place.

Tomorrow is our last touring day here. We are all a little tired but excited for what’s left to see.

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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