One thing becomes more clear each day as this trip unfolds, and that’s the bond and enjoyment among the travelers this trip is producing. No trip is without it’s bumps and bruises, but the days have brought us closer together as we collective experience the often “overwhelming” moments of the day. It’s wonderful to love and like the people you travel with. There’s lots of laughing and talking, perhaps accentuated by the incredible things we see each day. That’s the result of leadership, and John and Carla Moore have done an incredible job setting a happy tone. But there’ll be more to say about that later.
This day started at an incredible site, uncovered only about a decade ago. After spending the night in Bethlehem (it’s so cool just to type that!), we went down from Bethlehem toward the biblical city of Tekoa. There, we saw the Herodium, one of the palaces of Herod the Great and the place he was buried. Michael Hite contrasted his opulence and extravagance, destined for ruin and decay, with the living stones that make up God’s spiritual house (cf. 1 Pet. 2:9-10). Afterward, we enjoyed a few hours at the Israel Museum, seeing so many artifacts collected from various archaeological sites–including many tels we have visited on this trip.
From there, we went into the old city of Jerusalem for the first time. We went to the presumed site of the city of David, then down into Hezekiah’s tunnel. This wet tunnel goes for over 1700 feet with water as high as the thigh. It was an incredible engineering feat that protected Jerusalem’s water supply when the Assyrians laid siege during Hezekiah’s reign. We sang our way through much of the tunnel, and laughed a lot, too. Several Israeli teenagers were just ahead of us and enjoyed our singing so much they asked for an encore when we arrived at Siloam’s pool. Tyler King shared a great lesson with us from John 9.
After dinner, several of us went down to the old city at night. We walked in through the Damascus Gate in the Muslim quarter and eventually wound our way over to the western wall. We were treated to a hoard of sights and smells, then wearily returned to our hotel rooms. Every day is thrilling, educational, and overwhelming, but the people continue to bring as much joy and enjoyment as the places we are going (cf. Isa. 52:8-9).