Every day here in the land has been a wonderful day. Just when I think it can’t get any better, it does. The first thing we did after booking our flight, was book the rabbi’s tunnel. This is a tour that takes you along the Western Wall underground, closer to the road of the second temple period and right under the Muslim neighborhood. This path takes you to a spot that is the closest to the Holy of Holies. There is quite a wait for someone who wants to pray there.
Before going to the Rabbi’s Tunnel, we stopped at the exposed wall to pray. I prayed for family and friends that needed prayer, and for our day, that the Lord would lead it and teach us what we had to learn.
The tour was good and I did learn things I didn’t hear two years ago. The guide was a young woman, and she made it a lot of fun. When we got to the prayer room near the Holy of Holies, all I could do was bless God for bringing me here again.
Maria stayed behind at the prayer room, as we discussed she might. My mother is not going to be happy to hear that, but God was with me the whole day. After the tunnel, I wasn’t sure what to do, but didn’t have any anxiety about it. I headed into a plaza that is next to the Western Wall plaza. It is also part of the archeological park, but accessible for free. I sat across from Robinson’s Arch, which was one of the public entrances to the temple. I spent about an hour simply basking in the presence of the Lord.
At this point I was getting hungry and made my way to the Jewish Quarter. I had swarma, sitting at a table in the square, watching families go by while men took down the community sukkah. I did some shopping – bought myself a purple mezzuzah. I wandered through the Cardo, which is the remains of the main street in Roman times.
I wanted to go to the Burnt House and Herodian Quarters, but God had other plans. When I entered the Burnt House, they only took shekels, which I didn’t have. So I went looking for the Herodian Quarters. I knew I’d passed it, but couldn’t seem to find it, even with my gps. I did, however, happen upon the remains of a synagogue, the Golden Menorah at the Temple Institute, the Jewish Quarter Defenders Memorial, and several people looking for tzedakah (charity). The Lord told me to give, because that’s why I am in the land – to bless Israel. A rabbi prayed a blessing for me because I gave.
When I still couldn’t find the Herodian Quarters, I sat on a bench across from the Cardo and once more enjoyed being in God’s city. A tourist asked me for directions, and another gentleman helped her. He then introduced himself, and made some small talk, and asked if I wanted to visit a synagogue. I went with him without trepidation. He took me to the Four Sephardic Synagogues. There are four different synagogues in one building. Now, I know he was looking to be paid, but as I said, I am here to bless Israel and felt this was a God ordained appointment.
After all this, I was floating. So I floated to the City of David to meet Maria. We had a wonderful tour by Mortechi. He spoke about the archeology, but always tied it into the bible. He was passionate about the word and it made the whole tour very interesting. Most of the group we were with wanted to go through the water tunnel, so our guide took us through. This is called Hezekiah’s Tunnel because he had his men move the water from the Gihon Spring to a spot within the city as he prepared for a siege. Two groups of men started on opposite ends and chiseled out the tunnel with the intention of meeting in the middle.
It was an amazing experience! To be underground, see the chisel marks knowing these guys didn’t have flashlights and modern technology. Wow! We could see when they made mistakes and adjusted their course. We saw when the two groups came together and the plaque they wrote about the feat.
We then sat at the pool of Siloam where Yeshua healed the blind man. It is a very large mikvah (ritual bath/baptismal pool). We opted to return to the City of David via another underground tunnel, which gave us the feeling of being a pilgrim climbing to the temple after a mikvah. This is what Yeshua would have done, though not underground.
The tunnel emptied onto an active archeological site, though it was closed for the day. We could see buildings. Truly amazing.
We ate dinner in the Jewish Quarter then headed back to the hostel. As we were meandering home, just outside the city walls, we saw a camel on a grassy knoll eating out of a tree! Only in Israel!
As we walked, I told Maria, that in just a few days I feel completely full. While I am grateful for having come here with a tour group, I’ve experienced more in just a few days than I did in that whole trip. There is something different about seeing the country on your own. So even though I might not get to see some of the things we planned to see, I am completely full and satisfied.
As it says in Deut 8, when you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless the Lord your God. So, blessed are you, Lord my God, King of the Universe, who has satisfied the desire of my heart to experience your land.