Everywhere I look in the Land, I am surrrounded by one amazing feat after another. Yesterday, there were two things I saw that were totally amazing – one ancient, one modern.
Our first stop was the City of David. As I looked around, I couldn’t help but think about the people who lived there. They were born, lived, and died, and now no one here even knows their name. But they contributed to the world with their labor and with their children. Their lives had value, whether we know it or not.
Too often we think only about those who accomplished something, whose names (and histories) are recorded for posterity. But when I look at ancient ruins, all I can think about is what they were like, how they lived, how they died. Was their life easy? Was it filled with joy and love? In some ways they are much like us, and in some ways they are not.
They lived in a completely different world. Too often when I read the Bible, I put people into my contemporary world, forgetting they had it totally different – no cars, no washers, no electricity, no modern day conveniences. Yet they accomplished so much.
In the City of David there is a tunnel. King Hezikiah, in order to protect the water source in ancient Jerusalem, diverted the Gehon Spring to flow into the city. His men started from two different points – at the water source and at the pool of Siloam where it would eventually flow. These men chiseled out a tunnel underground with hand tools by torch light. It is a tunnel that took us over 25 minutes to.
While they made a few mistakes, they corrected their course and met in the middle. Our guide told us that in modern times an attempt to do something similar ended in failure – with all our technology. Now that, to me is amazing.
After spending a few minutes at the pool of Siloam (it was rather noisy with several school groups) we ascended the Stepped Stairs. These stairs are currently underground, but were once out in the open. These were the steps that people of the Second Temple period would use to walk from the pool of Siloam to the Temple. Yeshua walked these steps.
We spent some time on the Teaching Steps. These are steps leading to the Southern wall of the Temple mount, where the Hulda Gates are located. These are the steps where Yeshua (and other rabbis) would teach their disciples. These are the steps Yeshua would use to enter the Hulda Gates.
After most of the group returned to the hostel, Danny and I headed to the Kidron Valley where we spent some time exploring the tombs. The tomb of Absolam, Zechariah the priest, and others are there. As I stood before Absolam’s tomb, I couldn’t help be wonder at the huge structure. Here he was, a man who wanted his father dead, yet David built him a magnificent monument that stands 3,000 years later! Again…amazing.
As we walked back to the hostel, up hill all the way, my legs burned, and my feet reminded me that they needed rest. I couldn’t help but think about another amazing feat – this one taking place before my eyes.
Our friend Alan is having a very hard time walking, yet he valiantly climbed down all the steps in the City of David, and back up the Stepped Stairs. While it took him longer than our group – even groups behind us – he never gave up. He kept pressing on so he could see and experience the Land of his forefathers, the Land of his Messiah. Now THAT is amazing!