This morning we met outside the Knight’s Palace, our abode for last night, and wound our way through the cut stone allies of Jerusalem to see the Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock. Years earlier this was probably Mt. Moriah, where Abraham came to offer his son Isaac. This was the site of Solomon’s Temple (in the Old Testament), and later the Second Temple (or Herod’s Temple, during Jesus’ lifetime). Now the area is under Muslim control.
The courtyard around the former Temple area was much bigger than most of us expected; it covers 36 acres. When Jesus walked through this courtyard and said to the bustling market people, “Take these things away. My house shall be called a house of prayer,” His voice and commanding presence took in a very large area. From here we could overlook the Mount of Olives, where the disciples saw Jesus taken up into heaven.
Next we visited the Western Wall/Wailing Wall of the Temple Mount.
Then we went to the south side of the Temple Mount and walked through streets and ruins of the ancient city. The stones were huge, with the cornerstone measuring 36 feet long. We climbed the same steps that led into the city and remembered some of the songs God’s people sang as they traveled this road: “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord.’” Psalm 122:1, This is where Jesus said He would meet with his people.
After lunch we waded through Hezekiah’s tunnel for a third of a mile in 1-3 foot deep water that flows through it. Hezekiah tunnel was hewn by hand through solid rock, and provided Jerusalem with a water supply from outside of the walls into the city so that the city would have a constant water supply during time of siege. Our only lights were the flashlights we carried. It was a memorable experience.
As we came out of Hezekiah’s water tunnel, we found ourselves at the pool of Siloam. Here Jesus put mud on a blind man’s eyes and had him wash in the pool of Siloam, and his sight returned.
Bethany, a couple of miles from Jerusalem, was our next destination. Here we visited the likely tomb of Lazarus, where Jesus raised him to life saying, “I am the resurrection and the life.” Bethany is also where Mary anointed the feet of Jesus.
In the evening, we attended a program in the old city highlighting the life of David through sound and lights projected on the stone walls of part of the city, which was quite spectacular.
Juanita Edge, Communication Director