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City of David

One Year Ago - A Walk Through the Old City

Our group in front of the Dome of the Rock. NOTE: I am continuing my series of retrospective posts on the our tour one year ago. I invite you to start at the beginning and read through all of them.

A year ago today, we walked through the Old City.

Our day began by entering the Temple Mount area and viewing the city from there. You can imagine the temple as it once stood on this location before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD. The beautiful Dome of the Rock now stands out on this platform.

Our tour continued at the Pools of Bethesda and then we walked west on the Via Dolorosa toward the Church of the Holy Sepulture. After eating lunch and doing some shopping in the Christian Quarter, we walked through the Spice Market and arrived at the Jewish Quarter where we visited the Western Wall.

We toured the ancient city of David and then walked through Hezekiah's tunnel. Our day ended on the steps leading up to the southern end of the Temple Mount. Jesus and His family used these same steps about 2,000 years ago.

Tomorrow: We visit the Shephelah.

2015 Israel Poster B

Have you been enjoying these posts on last year's tour? Are you interested in traveling with me this year? Then, I would love to have you join me. Our 12-day tour is scheduled for October 12-23. We will stay one night on the Mediterranean Sea, three nights on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and five nights in beautiful Jerusalem. During the day, we will visit dozens of sites that will enhance your understanding of the land and of the Biblical stories that take place in them. Reservations are coming in, but we still have some availability! This is a first-class tour with many extras thrown in that many Israel tours overlook. If you are interested, I encourage you to read the itinerary and contact me personally for more details.

Approaching the City of David

Jerusalem and the City of David This view of the iconic Jerusalem skyline is a staple to many a postcard vendor. However, panning out a bit outside the Ottoman-era walls reveals two important locations. First is the Temple Mount which today features the Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock. And, across the street from the Temple Mount and slightly beneath the brilliant blue rooftop is the Iron Age City of David—the original Jerusalem. This small mound was protected on all sides from approach, except from the north, where an enemy could approach unseen down the ridgeline. Thus, the Temple Mount not only served as a holy place, but also as fortified protection from hostile forces from the north.

Podcast #2 - The Mountains Around Jerusalem

[soundcloud url="" params="auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true" width="100%" height="450" iframe="true" /] In Psalm 125, the psalmist draws a beautiful comparison between the mountains of Jerusalem and the love and protection that God provides to His people. But, in order to fully appreciate what the psalmist means, you have to have an complete understanding of the geography of Jerusalem. That is what we will be discussing on this program.

Podcast Links Jerusalem Post Article concerning 2013 Jerusalem Marathon 2015 Israel Tour

More Information on the Ophel Excavations

The black screens cover the areas of the Ophel Excavations on the south end of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.For the past several summers, Dr. Eilat Mazar has been leading many of the excavations around the City of David just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Recently, she has been concentrating her efforts in the area of the Ophel. A couple of days ago, their group released a fantastic video showing some of the most recent excavations. These digs have centered around a cistern from the Second Temple period as well as some underground caverns and tunnels. The current assumptions is that the cistern collected rain water for public use during the time of King Herod.

The Jewish historian, Josephus, mentions that many of the Jews hid in underground caverns and tunnels during the time of the Roman overthrow of Jerusalem around 70AD. It is possible that some of these tunnels that are mentioned in the video are the same ones mentioned by Josephus.

Honestly, it may be hard to know exactly. But, it is interesting to think about.

I wonder what they will dig up next?

2012 Israel Trip - Day Seven

2012 Israel Trip - Day Seven


This morning started out on top of the Mount of Olives. For anyone that has been to Jerusalem, the view from the Mount of Olives is something that you will never forget. This morning was no exception. When I woke up this morning, there was some clouds in the air and I thought that our view would be obscured. However, within 30 minutes of the sun coming up, the clouds burned off and it was crystal clear from up on top. We took our typical group picture which you will probably see on Ferrell Jenkins' blog. We traveled down off the top of the hill and down to the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane. It is interesting to look up at the East Gate and envision Judas and the men with him traveling down the hill with torches and spears to arrest Jesus. Standing there, you realize how close all of these places are. No doubt, Jesus could hear the men leaving the city and coming down to arrest Him. He could have had plenty of time to run, but He didn't.  And for that, I am thankful.

Going into the modern city of Jerusalem, we visited the ancient city of David. It is very interesting to walk around the ruins, see the ancient walls of the city and to see the Gihon Spring. From there, we walked through the Caananite Tunnel, which carried water from the Gihon Spring to other parts of the city during that time. Our tour ended by looking at the excavations of the Pool of Siloam. This is one of my favorite places. Mostly because I love the story in John 9 of Jesus' compassion in healing the blind man at that pool.

The afternoon was spent down in the Bethlehem area. Even though Bethlehem is only 6 miles from Jerusalem, it is within West Bank territory and difficult to get to. We made a stop by the Church of the Nativity, which is the traditional location of the birthplace of Jesus.

We had one final surprise stop at the Herodium just south of Bethlehem. We were not able to tour the Herodium (which is on my bucket list), but we were able to drive up to it and take pictures.

All in all, another great day in Israel. It's quickly coming to an end, but we still have a lot to cover. Tomorrow we head south and go to Masada, En Gedi, Qumran and Jericho.