The Word Come to Life: Jerusalem
People from the three major world religions make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land every year to explore the roots of their faith. Only once reading the Bible will you really begin to comprehend Israel’s complex history for Jews and Christians alike. Take this transformative journey to the middle of the earth to walk where Jesus walked, see where the temple was built and begin to understand the tension behind one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Here are five must-see places in the Garden City, Jerusalem.
Outside the walls of the Old City, set atop Mount Zion is the city of Israel’s greatest king: King David. King David praised God for the blessing of this city in much of his poetry (Psalms 48:1-2). Where the palace would have been overlooks the houses pictured above. You’ll see the walls and imagine where David and the kings after him must have set watchmen to protect the city from the enemies to the north (Isaiah 62:6).
Much of the terrain surrounding Mount Zion is a pit of rubble, as archaeologists are performing round the clock digs to uncover ancient artifacts that prove the Jews long-term existence in the Promised Land. They have found columns of palaces, signet rings of government officials and more. You’ll witness for yourself that the Bible is not just a story book, it’s not a fairytale, but a historical account of the greatest story ever told.
Inside the City of David is the excursion Hezekiah’s tunnel. King Hezekiah used this tunnel to redirect a water supply to the southern end of the city in hopes to protect it from possible enemy warfare tactics. You can trudge 533 meters through the darkness in knee-deep water as your shoulders graze the walls of the tunnel, which pops out at the Pool of Siloam.
As the story goes, Jesus healed a blind man at the Pool of Siloam (John 9). Here he spat on the ground, made mud and put it on the man’s eyes. The man washed his eyes in the Pool of Siloam (which means “sent”) and sent him home seeing.
Perhaps the most controversial location in Jerusalem is the Temple Mount. However, as you can see, there is no temple. Here once stood the temple Solomon built for the Lord in all its glory (1 Kings 6). After one of the exiles from Jerusalem, Muslims came to the city when the Jews were no longer there and built a monument, the Dome of the Rock, and a mosque. Even so, you can imagine where the temple courts would’ve been, where the Israelites came to worship for hundreds of years and where Jesus flipped the tables of the merchants who had made his house “a den of robbers” (Matthew 21:12).
There is nothing more sobering than reading of the night before Jesus’ crucifixion where it actually took place; where he sweat blood and begged the Father to take his cup of suffering from him (Matthew 26:36-46). It will reset your heart as you begin to absorb the emotions of what Jesus was about to endure for you and for mankind.
The garden is still beautifully kept with thousand-year-old olive trees, ones perhaps like the disciples would have fallen asleep under.
Continuing past Gethsemane is the famous hill that Jesus rode a donkey down into the city of Jerusalem during the Passover (Matthew 21), and it is believed this is where he will also return. Even the Jews hold firm to this belief that Jesus will set his feet on the Mount of Olives, raising the dead underneath Him (Zechariah 14:4). Many Jews pay a hefty price to be buried on the Mount of Olives for the purpose of being brought back to life first when the Messiah comes. So, you’ll see Orthodox Jews believers visiting the graves of Rabbis and loved ones in boxes, just as you might imagine the one that Joseph’s bones were brought from Egypt into the Promised Land.
Come Experience Israel With Us!
See the Bible come to life for yourself during our week-long study trip with the Bible Core Course offered every spring and fall (see dates here), or during our two-month long Experience Israel course this fall! Our current Backpack DTS will even be having their debrief there this summer.
Israel part 2 coming soon!