Our group is so awesome! They all woke up ready to explore and learn. The Western wall was our first stop just inside the Old Jerusalem city gate. After making our way through Israeli security, we weaved in and out of varying Bar-Mitzvah celebrations to get to the actual wall. I think everyone was deeply moved by seeing such reverence and undying devotion to the idea of the presence of God. We prayed special prayers, and some even rolled up pieces of paper with their prayers on them and inserted them in the cracks of the wall.
Moving North and below ground, our pilgrims went on an extensive tour of the Rabbi’s tunnel. We saw the most amazing archaeological finds from many eras. There were remains from as far back as the second temple life! We are talking over 2,000 years old. Seeing how the temple built helped many to understand its’ significance. We also walked right by a secret sealed entrance along the West wall that leads to underground rooms beneath the temple mount. This is a possible site for the missing Ark of the Covenant. Wow!
A long walk through the old city revealed a section of Nehemiah’s wall, Hasmonean period walkways, crusader structures, modern Jewish life, and children playing in the streets. We had a private and personal appointment with a Jewish Rabbi shop owner to discuss the differences and commonalities between our two faiths. Pizza for lunch, and ice cream (I abstained for reasons of personal weight).
The day ended with an in-depth tour of the old city of David. This is an ancient city located on the Southern slope just below the temple mount. It showed portions of King David’s palace, the coronation site of His son Solomon, and Hezekiah’s tunnel. The fearless and adventurous walked through the long, dark, and very wet live section of this tunnel.