Sunday, July 06, 2008
Our final stop on the tour was five days in Jerusalem. This was an amazing time because it is so clear that this ground is the center of the spiritual world. It is important to the Hebrews and the followers of Islam because of their connection with Abraham. It is important to Christians for that reason and also because of the encounters Christ had in this place. It is also fascinating because of the history of urbanization, conquest, and technology.
The first photo is of me walking through Hezekiah's tunnel. This is a huge water conduit flowing from the Kidron Springs in the super old City of David up hill toward the more modern "Old City." These tunnels were hewn out of limestone around 700 BC and required significant engineering and manpower. They still carry water, but that water is no longer used for municipal uses, but at the end of the tunnel is the Pool of Siloam where Jesus healed a blind man (John 9:1-12).
The second photo is of Julie and I in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is basically an olive orchard, but the amazing thing is that the olive trees are very old and may have been there 2000 years ago. This is probably not likely, but still these old trees have seen a number of pilgrims come through in their lifetimes. (Mark 14:32-42)
The last photo is of the 1st station of the Cross which is the site believed to be where Pontius Pilate asked the Jews who they wanted released-- Jesus or the known criminal Barabbas. This site is deep in the Islamic Quarter of the city, and very few people actually know how to get there. We were struck by how God's plan for salvation used local political officials as well as known religious entities (Chief Priests) to execute the plan. (John 19:1-16)