Israel Trip – Day 7 (Jerusalem and Bethlehem)

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Our day of exploring  the King David’s City part of Jerusalem (Sunday, June 16) began at a beautiful brass harp sculpture.

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Brass sculpture welcoming us into the City of David. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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View of the city across the valley (Valley of Hinnom, I believe). (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

Our guide explained the layout of the land, the need for a water source, and the importance of Gihon Spring. He told of how at least two tunnels have been dug to bring water from the spring into the city. Then we descended stairs to walk those tunnels—dry and wet.

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Information sign, explaining the various underground constructions. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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Our Jerusalem tunnel experience began with our descent of these stairs. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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In the tunnel system. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

The wet tunnel, constructed during Hezekiah’s reign, still has water flowing through it. Those prepared for a little water walked through the wet tunnel while the rest of us squeezed our way through the dry one.

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A pool of water in the Jerusalem tunnels. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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Ernie emerging from the dry tunnel. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

Both tunnels emerge near the Pool of Siloam. However, the nondescript puddle of water labeled Pool of Siloam was obstructed by dusty construction so we didn’t linger or take pictures.

Next we drove to the Davidson Centre to experience the Southern Wall excavations We viewed the now blocked three Huldah Gates where the crowds entered the temple. We walked up the ancient steps, imagining Jesus and His disciples at these very spots.

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Panorama view of the Southern Wall. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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Panorama view looking from the Southern Wall. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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The three blocked Huldah Gates, where the crowds entered the temple. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

We were awed by the massive temple stones, marveling at how ancient builders had put them in place so precisely without using our modern devices. A display in an open area helped us understand how these massive stones were moved using simple machines.

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Rubble from the destruction of the temple. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

We were awed by the massive temple stones, marveling at how ancient builders had put them in place so precisely without using our modern devices. A display in an open area helped us understand how these massive stones were moved using simple machines.

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Large temple stones and pillars. Dome at the right is the Al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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Early building machines, used at the time the temple was built. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

We also drove to the Israel Museum to visit the Shrine of the Book (housing the Dead Sea Scrolls) and Yad Vashem, Israel’s memorial to the holocaust. That was a sobering hour and a half, viewing photos and reading of how the whole world seemed to turn against Israel in concert. (Photography was not allowed in the museum.)

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Sculpture outside Yad Vashem (Israel’s Holocaust Museum). (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

Finally, we boarded the bus for Bethlehem, about a 45-minute drive away. Our first stop was at a market, where our late lunch was waiting for us (ordered ahead by our guide). We also had time for some shopping. Besides the lovely wood mementos in the market, other vendors soon drove up with jewelry and scarves.

Then it was back on the bus to the Shepherd’s Fields (we decided to skip Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, wanting to avoid the crowds we had encountered at the Holy Sepulchre Church).

A boy with a lamb greeted us (I think he wanted a little coin for posing, but, sorry, I was too slow).

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Boy with a lamb. (Photo © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

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The Shepherd and Sheep Fountain in the plaza of the Shepherd’s Chapel. (Photos © 2019 by V. Nesdoly)

Down a short path, we came to some meeting alcoves, overlooking grassy fields. Here we reviewed the Christmas story and had a short devotional. Then some of our group clambered through the caves in the area that led back to the plaza and chapel. (I walked out above ground.)

I saw a lot of Jerusalem crosses in Bethlehem. I purchased a mother-of-pearl one, a wonderful memory of this day.

Here are some of the things the Jerusalem cross symbolizes.

– The five wounds of Christ (the four little crosses symbolize wounds to Jesus’ hands and feet, the large cross the wound to His side).

– The gospel (large cross) spread to the four quarters of the earth (four small crosses).

– Christ (the large cross) and the four evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (four small crosses).

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