Feb 13, 2023 | Gilbert's Journal



On Day 6 of our Bible Study Tour many of the Tour participants unanimously agreed that the best biblical sites were saved for the last!
Our Tour started with a Visit of the Ancient Palace of King David, the Canaanite/Hezekiah’s tunnel, the pool of Siloam, the temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa through the Lion’s Gate (where Stephen is believed to have been stoned in Acts 7) and we ended up in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Ancient Palace of David
This site is situated on the southern part of the Temple Mount, overseeing the Kidron valley. In addition to the inscription we saw in Tel Dan of an Aramean King (external source) who boasted of fighting “the house of David”, the excavations in the City of David do confirm that this is most likely where David built his palace after defeating the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5:6-10).
As has been the practice in many of the sites visited so far, watching a 15-minute movie did help to put the right context as we learned about the ancient fiercely independent Canaanite tribe of the Jebusites who had built a fortress to protect the city.
Standing on the roof top of David’s palace helped to provide a geographical context to David’s story with Bathsheba – it was easy for David to see her taking her bath from that vantage position across the Kidron valley. These visits really help in bringing such biblical stories to light.
It was simply awe-inspiring to be standing on at least 3000 years of biblical history as we pondered on the excavations and findings that have been uncovered in this renowned biblical site.

The Cannanite/Hezekiah Tunnels
Underneath the ancient city of David, a Canaanite tunnel was built about 3700 years ago to and from the Gihon Spring for agricultural and other purposes. It runs from the Gihon Spring to the southern part of the ancient city of Jerusalem, ending in the pool of Siloam.
During our visit we saw the place where it intersects with the Hezekiah tunnel. During the reign of King Hezekiah, the water from the Gihon spring was diverted to provide water to the city of Jerusalem as they prepared to resist the Assyrian siege under King Sennacherib. (2 Chronicles 32:1-4; 30)
We marveled at the engineering feat and the patience it must have taken the builders to achieve what our eyes were beholding. This goes a long way to confirm the trustworthiness of the biblical account.

The Pool of Siloam
At the exit from the tunnel, we spent some time at the pool of Siloam – a place captured in the Gospels in John 9:7. (Pool of Siloam)
This was also where Jewish worshippers would perform purification rites before going up into the Temple Court in Ancient times.
It felt incredible to be where what we read in the Gospels played out.

The Temple Mount
From the Pool of Siloam, our bus drove us to the The Dung Gate in the the Southern Entrance into the Temple Mount.
We were able to visit the most likely site where Peter would have preached on the Pentecost day – the huge stairway where we also saw Hulda’s Gate -named after the the prophetess in the Old Testament.
They would have used the Jewish Mikveh –baths used for ceremonial immersions to conduct the 3000 baptisms.
It was also very enlightening to visit the Market Place area of the temple where Jesus would have driven out the Money Changers with a whip. Our guide commented on features of that section of the Temple Wall that clearly pointed to it being a Market Place.
The Western Wall
After a long security control process and a light lunch in the old city, we made our way to the western wall. The Jews prefer to call it the Western Wall not the wall of Lamentation – derogatory term to the Jews.
The Western wall reveals different eras from the size and texture of the different bricks : ranging from King Herod’s time to later eras like the Crusaders.
In a time when Jews were not allowed to reach the site of the temple, this western became a place of prayer – symbolizing their longing for the temple.
Many Tour participants took the opportunity to go pray facing the wall.

The Via Dolorosa
The last 5 stations of the cross are authentic – leading to the church of the holy sepulchre, the place where Jesus is believed to have been crucified, buried and resurrected.
What a path of contemplation as we walked all the through the Lion Gate and down into the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Garden of Gethsemane
Upon arriving the private part of the Garden, we sang, had communion after a thoughtful lesson (Gethsemane Communion Message) and spent some private time in prayer. My wife and I had the privilege to pray at the same spot we had prayed in July 2017 after a lesson by Dr Steve Kinnard (Dr Steve’s Sermon)
Words cannot describe the feeling of being where Jesus fought his last battles before facing the cross.

Looking forward to wrapping up the Tour on Day 7 before getting ready to head back to Nigeria.
Thanks for your prayers!


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