Another day in Jerusalem was memorable. We began the day heading toward the Zion Gate. This gate is where paratroopers dropped in during the Israeli War of Independence and there are bullet holes all over the walls. It's amazing. While we were standing in front of it a number of cars drove through. This blew me away. The gate is about as wide as a minivan and the turn is about 180 degrees once a car comes through. I couldn't believe it. Most cars had dents and scratches on the sides. That's par for the course regarding cars around the city.
Yoni, our guide, calls this "bogus Zion gate" because it is not near the historical Mt. Zion. It's a location picked by Crusaders and the history of the real Zion doesn't support it. We discover pretty quickly that there are two of everything in Jerusalem - two Mt. Zions, two burial sites, two Calvaries, two everything. It's based on who owns the site, who thought they discovered a site and politics. Sometimes it's just based on honest mistakes.
We went to the Cardo and then to a site believed to be the High Priest's home during the first century. This site was uncovered in the 1980s when contractors were beginning to build Jewish homes and businesses in newly Jewish owned areas of the Old City. This site is incredible. It is here that Caiaphas lived during Jesus day and here that Peter stood in the courtyard of the high priest and denied Christ three times. We stood in this courtyard. Sobering. Guess what? When we left the site and moved over to Silwan (the City of David) we heard a rooster crow. Hmmm.
We looked over the City of David and watched a film covering the time of David and the Old Testament kings up to the present. It was even in 3D. Nice film. Helped to show the ancient sites in comparison to the new sites.
From here we divided into three groups. There are two tunnels that have been uncovered. These tunnels in the rock were tight and not for folks with claustrophobia. One tunnel comes from Canaanite times and is a dry tunnel. It's about 200 yards long. The other tunnel is filled with about a foot of water and is about 600 yards long. The wet tunnel is called Hezekiah's Tunnel. It brought water from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam. Our three teams were the dry tunnel team, the wet tunnel team and the coffee shop team (these folks didn't want to brave the tunnel.)
The last stop big stop of the day was at the Garden Tomb. This wonderful site is maintained by a group from the U.K. It was discovered years ago by General Gordan from Britain and is a site outside the city at the time of Christ and is near a mountain that looks like a skull. Could be Golgotha. There is even an empty tomb that was discovered. Is this the site? Well, most archeologists and historians say no, but it is the best site for personal reflection and to think of the Resurrection. As our guide (a former pastor from a Baptist church in Tampa) said "We're here to look at nothing. This is because the tomb is empty and Christ is alive." There were many people here today. We even saw former NFL commentator Pat Summerall. We left him alone, but it was pretty cool to see him. We ended our time here taking Communion or the Lord's Supper.