Back to Jerusalem

February 1, 2007

“I was glad when they said to me,
‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’
Our feet have been standing
within your gates, O Jerusalem!”
-Psalm 122:1-2

Yesterday, we got back from our third field trip to Jerusalem in a week, and each one has been amazing. I already blogged about the first one, so now I’ll quickly cover the second and third.

Last Saturday, we headed into Jerusalem to attend church at the Jerusalem Assembly House of Redemption. This was my first real cross-cultural church experience, but now I’m really excited that we get to attend this church all semester. The pastor spoke at our IBEX chapel service on Friday night and then at church on Saturday morning. He can bring it.

After church, we all got dropped off at Jaffa Gate and were free until the next morning, so I set out with my friends David, Melody, Yuliya, Trisanna, and Ashley to explore the Old City. After we had been walking around for a while, I noticed some trees through an opening ahead. As Yuliya tried to go through the opening, she got stopped by a guy with a big gun. We unknowingly were about to enter the Temple Mount. They didn’t let us through, but they did let us take pics.

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After we had walked through the Old City, we decided to walk around it. We went out Jaffa Gate and headed South. Before long we saw a door that led to a stairway. The door was open, so we decided to see where it led. When we got up the stairs we were in this big opening next to a large cemetery, a soccer field, and a very large church.

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When we had crossed the South side of the city, we went down and walked through the Kidron Valley on the East side of the city. In this valley, they have found tombs from before the time of Christ. In this picture, I’m standing in front of Absalom’s Pillar (which has nothing to do with Absalom). This tomb would have been around in the days of Jesus, so it’s pretty cool to think that I’m seeing something that Jesus would have walked by.

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By the way…it’s pretty huge.

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This is Todd Bolen. He is our Land and Bible teacher this semester, so that means he is the one taking us on most of the field trips. We’ve all been having a blast cruising around Jerusalem with him, and according to him, the fun has just begun. On Monday, he took us on an Old Testament Jerusalem Walk. We examined archaeological findings from the First Temple Period(Solomon to 586 B.C.)–this included seeing excavations of David’s Palace and old homes that were obviously destroyed in 586 by the Babylonians. The Bible is a historical book.

On Tuesday night, we went back into Jerusalem and saw a huge model that depicted Jerusalem in 66 A.D., four years before it was destroyed by the Romans. The model was impressive because Jerusalem was obviously an impressive city. We also got to see the Dead Sea Scrolls, another Testament to the historicity and accuracy of the Bible.

On Wednesday, Todd led us on our New Testament Walk. First, we visited the Temple Mount. It was impressive in the time of Christ, and it still is. However, it no longer houses the Temple; its new centerpiece is the Dome of the Rock. This is me in front of the Dome.

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This next picture goes to show that you can take us out of Hotchkiss and take us to the other side of the world, but you can’t take Hotchkiss out of us.

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After the Temple Mount, we visited the Jerusalem Archaeological Park, which is full of remains and artifacts from the Herodian period. You can see the remains of a street and shops that were next to the Temple. You can see part of an arch that used to support a monumental staircase. On the other side of the park, they have found broad stairs that led to the main entrances to the Temple Mount. We got to do something very cool as we walked up the steps. The number of steps seems to coincide with the number of Psalms of Ascent. The Israelites used to sing these Psalms (120-134) as they made their way up to Jerusalem for the festivals. We read these Psalms as we ascended the steps to the ancient gates of the Temple Mount. I do not think any of us will ever read those Psalms again without remembering that.

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The last thing we did on Wednesday was go through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. Shortly before 701 B.C., Hezekiah ordered that a tunnel be built under the ancient city of Jerusalem. It took water from the Gihon Spring (outside the city walls) to the Pool of Siloam (inside the city walls.) The tunnel is still there. It curves for a third of a mile under the City of David. After seeing this tunnel and the ginormous foundations of Herod’s Temple, I’m realizing that these were pretty smart guys. They built many amazing things without our modern technology.

February is a relatively “normal” month at IBEX. We have roughly one field trip a week, but these will start to explore more of the land outside Jerusalem. I’m hoping to post a quick recap of IBEX so far within the next few days.

Here’s an even quicker recap:
IBEX is awesome.

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2 Responses to “Back to Jerusalem”

  1. Bill said

    Yo bro! Hope you slept well!

    Great post! That is so cool that they just turned you loose in the city for some good exploring!

    Keep it real!

    Bill

  2. Yo Bro! Thanks so much for the update! It’s awesome to read what you are up to in the city of Jerusalem. Sounds like an adventure!

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