Tour Journal For Israel Study Tour with Scott Heare September 17-30, 2011

Day 11 – Jerusalem

Day 11 – Jerusalem

“There is a river, whose streams  make glad the city of our God.  I will rejoice and be glad”.    This morning’s first adventure, while not as physically demanding as the many climbs we have taken, proved to be a great challenge for many of us.  Hezekiah’s Tunnel was dug through solid rock deep below the City of Jerusalem in order to protect the city and it’s water supply from invaders around 700 BC.  The tunnel is between 4 ½ and 6 feet high and 3 feet across with knee deep water flowing over it’s length of 1/3 of a mile.  The only light was from a few flashlights.  Proving once again that ignorance is bliss, the team obediently followed the Rabbi into the abyss.  God once again proved himself faithful, as we emerged 40 minutes later happier than the Chilean miners.

They are not kidding when they say “We are going up to Jerusalem”.  Everywhere you go is in uphill from where you are.  Our next destination was to the top of Temple Mount.  We were blessed to be allowed entrance into the area, now home to the Dome of the Rock.  It is unusual for non-Muslims to be allowed in.  Pants for men and pants or skirts for women are required here and in many of the religious sites.  One of our group members couldn’t find the pants he planned to change into.  Much to our delight, he was able to purchase a skirt for $ 10.  Although it was a tight fit, it did not make his butt look big.  Since our bibles were confiscated at the front door, we quietly recited scripture from memory while overlooking the East Gate, the gate through which Messiah will return.

The afternoon started with a quick hike up to the Herodian, Herod’s palace in Bethlehem.  After dismissing him and his crumbling ruins for the final time, we proceeded into town.  In Bethlehem we were treated to lunch and shopping at Johnny’s Souveneers.  Our hosts were a family of Palestinian Christians and were most gracious.  The GNP of the West Bank made a significant jump after we made a healthy deposit of US dollars with Johnny and at the store across the street buying Magnum Bars.

Our travels continued back to Jerusalem and the Temple area.  After a time of discussion and prayer, we finished the day at the Western Wall.  I’m sure God was pleased as His kids from Texas and elsewhere – hot, tired, smelly and dirty – quietly cried out to him from in front of the wall.  Some of us felt surprisingly comfortable surrounded by Orthodox Jews dressed in black (some with fur hats), heavily armed Israeli soldiers in olive green and the sound of the call for prayers from the mosques above.  Perhaps it is because we have been in the river that makes glad the city of our God.  Perhaps it is because we are followers of Jesus Christ, in whom we can rejoice and be glad.

— Chris Estus

Audio from today

Photos from today

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