December 7, 2022
Our hotel in Jerusalem has been wonderful, with excellent food and lots of buffet choices. For breakfast, shawarma was a favorite of many. It has pickled vegetables in a tahini/hummus/tomato sauce covered with cracked eggs and baked in an oven.
Later, we descended into the rock which housed the Jebusite irrigation canal. Many of our group walked, or inched and squeezed, through it. Others in the group descended further down to Hezekiah’s water-filled tunnel which he engineered to bring water into the city and cleverly disguised to hide it from enemies, all hand-chiseled out of dense stone. All of us ended up at the same place, the Pool of Siloam, where Jesus healed the man born blind.
After breakfast we visited the old Jerusalem in the morning, known as the City of David. It had been a stronghold of the ancient Jebusites, but David sent some troops to secretly find their way through an underground irrigation canal that he theorized would lead into the the heart of the city. He was right! Later, Jerusalem (City of Peace) extended outward beyond the walls into the city it is today. David’s palace has been discovered and excavations are continuing. It felt surreal to walk through the palace, not large, but an important part of the Old Testament history (think David and Bathsheba).
A highlight of the day, if not the trip, was having communion at the Garden Tomb, the second contested site (the Temple Mount being the other and the one most scholars believe to be the correct one) of Jesus’ crucifixion and burial. It was a very meaningful moment in time.
The day ended at the Machane Yehuda Food Market. It was huge and colorful with spices and food vendors making foods we do not really have available in the States, but very tasty. We got to sample many along the way. I so wanted to eat a piece of poppy seed rolled loaf. However, one had to buy the entire loaf, not just a piece, and I knew I would eat the whole thing if I bought it, so I refrained. It was back to the hotel and a night of sweet dreams.