The above is “good morning” in Arabic for all you non-Arabic speaking people.:) This past Thursday, we journeyed back to Jerusalem for another day in the Holy City. The team donned their water shoes and some hiked the trousers up, to walk through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Hezekiah’s Tunnel is a tunnel that was dug underneath the City of David in Jerusalem before 701 BC during the reign of Hezekiah. The tunnel is mentioned in 2 Kings 20:20 in the Bible. The Bible also tells us that King Hezekiah prepared Jerusalem for an impending siege by the Assyrians, by “blocking the source of the waters of the upper Gihon, and leading them straight down on the west to the City of David” (2 Chronicles 32). It is one of the few intact, 8th century BC structures in the world that the public can not only visit, but enter and walk through. There is still water flowing through the tunnel and although there were some deeper parts, most of it was mid-shin deep. After leaving the tunnel, our pants were dry in less than a half hour…how we love this dry, warm heat!!! We also visited the Western Wall (commonly known as the Wailing Wall), a site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries. It is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount. It is a remnant of the ancient wall that surrounded the Jewish Temple’s courtyard, and is one of the most sacred sites in Judaism outside of the Temple Mount itself. Many team mates got the opportunity to touch the wall and tuck a written prayer inside some of the cracks. Above the Western Wall, on the Temple Mount (a man-made plateau), sits The Dome on the Rock (a mosque), the third most important Islamic holy site and very important Jewish landmark. Inside the mosque sits the Rock of Moriah, where Jews believe Abraham went to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Muslims believe the same story, except that instead of Isaac, Abraham offered Ishmael. It is definitely the visual center of Jerusalem, with its golden dome shining brightly under the hot sun. Finally, we walked to the Garden Tomb. The Garden Tomb is located in Jerusalem, outside the city walls and close to the Damascus Gate. It is a rock-cut tomb considered by some to be the site of the burial and resurrection of Jesus and to be adjacent to Golgotha, a contradiction to the “traditional” site for these-the Chruch of the Holy Sepulchre. This was by far my favorite place of the day. It is the only Christian-run site thereby making it the only place that we visited where the Gospel message is actually presented. We ended our pilgrimage to Jerusalem by having a time of team fellowship and prayer here. A perfect ending to a perfect day.
Work is continuing along at a steady pace. Mike and Zach expect the team to be finished pouring the parking lot by Monday and ready for another project on Tuesday. Our next project will be to pour a concrete floor in a large art studio. I challenge you all to beat your sons and daughters in an arm wrestle after this summer!!!!
We are hoping to have an evening of fun with the Hope School team who arrived in Beit Jala a few days ago. (Beit Jala and Bethlehem are neighboring towns for all you geography buffs.)
We are having such a lovely time here. I can not believe that we have less than ten days left before we journey back to the USA. We have grown as individuals and, most importantly, we have all drawn closer to Lord. His hand of provision is always present and daily we are reminded of His ever-pursuing love for us. Thank you all for praying for us and helping make this once-in-a-life-time opportunity happen!