As our spiritual pilgrimage in the footsteps of Jesus is quickly coming to a conclusion, we turned our attention to the final days of Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem. Because of the Jewish holiday of Sukkoth (Pentecost) we were unable to walk through Hezekiah's Tunnel and visit the newly discovered Pool of Siloam yesterday, so we visited the Upper Room and Garden of Gethsemane yesterday and did Hezekiah's Tunnel today. So we started out the day by visiting the southwest hill of ancient Jerusalem and reflecting on Jesus' arrest and trials.
We went to the church which commemorates Peter's denial of Jesus at the House of Caiaphas. Although we don't know the exact location of the High Priest's house where Jesus was put on trial by the religious leaders, we do know it happened somewhere here on the upper hill in the southwest part of Jerusalem. Archaeologists have found a number of large and elaborate houses in this area that match the description of Caiaphas' house. Mike did some teaching on the denial and reinstatement of Peter by Jesus and helped us to see that ultimately our call is to be in Covenant with Jesus so that we can carry out the business of the Kingdom as part of God's extended family.
Outside the church we were able to se a street from the time of Jesus which was like the street Jesus and the disciples would have taken to Gethsemane from the Upper Room and like the one the soldiers would have used when bringing the arrested Jesus back for trial by the religious authorities.
Since it was closed the day before, we went from the upper city down to the City of David where we walked through the ancient tunnel system which King Hezekiah dug in order to bring the water of the Gihon Spring inside the walls of the city. This half mile long water tunnel is cut out of solid rock, barely wider than a man's shoulders, and empties into the ancient Pool of Siloam. Recently archaeologists have uncovered the stepped pool which was the place where Jesus sent the blind man to go and wash as part of his healing (John 9). It was incredible to sit on those steps and imagine how that man's life was transformed by Jesus' gracious and powerful act. We asked God to give us faith to exercise the authority we have received to do the same!
On our way back into the Old City we encountered crowds of religious Jews who were following up on the Sukkot holiday with celebratory Bar Mitzvah processions, complete with drums, dancing, and singing. We stopped at a street side restaurant for lunch and to watch the festivities.
We spent the rest of the afternoon on our own exploring the Old City, shopping, and resting. We gathered again in the evening for our traditional Seder meal and communion service. It was a great way to finish off our remembrance of Jesus' supper with the disciples and our second to last dinner in Jerusalem.