Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hezekiah's Tunnel

In 1830, a hexagonal clay prism,
 known as the  "Taylor Prism,"
 was discovered among the ruins of Ninevah. 
It tells us that Sennacherib, the king of Assyria
 in the Eighth Century BC, 
had Hezekiah trapped in Jerusalem
 like a "bird in a cage." 
Hezekiah and his engineers refortified 
the city walls and carved a 1, 720 foot tunnel
 out of solid bedrock to bring
 the ever-flowing waters of the Gihon spring
 into the inner sections of the city.
The only spring in Jerusalem, 
the Gihon is a siphonic, karstic
spring, and its name means "gushing". 
It is thought that the Gihon
 could have supported a population of 2500.
1 Kings 1:38          2 Kings 20       2 Chronicles 29-32

The Gihon Spring was Jerusalem's main water source
 from the city's earliest days. 
However, the spring's location 
near the bottom of the eastern slope
 forced the city's builders to leave it outside 
the city walls and to create a protected passageway
 that led to the water source.
The tunnel, leading from the Gihon Spring
 to the Pool of Siloam,
was designed as an aqueduct
 to provide Jerusalem with water
 during an impending siege by the Assyrians,
 led by Sennacherib.
The curving tunnel is 522 meters long.

According to the Siloam inscription, 
the tunnel was excavated by two teams, 
one starting at each end of the the tunnel
 and then meeting in the middle. 
With trail and some errors, 
it is thought that the teams digging
 were directed from above using sounds
 generated by hammering on the solid karst (limestone)
 through which they were digging.

Hezekiah's Tunnel was discovered by American explorer 
Edward Robinson in 1838. 
In the 1860's another explorer named Charles Warren
 is credited for the discovery of a 52 foot vertical shaft
 that descends to the level of the water tunnel.

You can touch the pick marks
 on the walls of the tunnel.

fortified walls and ceilings-
notice arch and the
very large blocks.
There are some wonderful explanations and diagrams
 at this following site
 to give even more info about this tunnel.

Monday, April 28, 2014

City of David- Jerusalem

Jerusalem continues to be a land of discovery for the archaeological world
 that reveals the Bible's historical precision.
The City of David (not as Bethlehem), but the"dig",
 is just south of the Dung Gate and the "Southern Wall" excavations of the Temple.
When David conquered the city of Jebus (the previous name),
 the city was a mere 300 yards long and 100 yards wide.
The city that David conquered and reestablished
 as his kingdom capital was small,
 bounded by the Kidron Valley to the east
 and the Tyropean Valley to the west.

Excavations in the early 1800s have not only revealed 
the earliest walls and structures dating before
 David (c. 1800-1500 BC)
 and the exposed evidence of David's presence,
 but the centuries of Israelite history that would follow.

Current excavation here since 2005-
Perhaps the remains of King David's Palace
Some discoveries really show the connection
 to the Biblical accounts, as above.

Well-preserved finds are being discovered 
that show intricate workmanship.

Biblical stories continue to have more and more documentation.

In order to discover more and more of the ancient ruins,
In order to discover more and more of the ancient ruins,
 something gets destroyed.
That is simply the nature of working
 to find the early story of each site. 

Some of the remains in the buildings are
 significant artifacts showing that the quarters
 were part of Jerusalem's elite.
This site includes city walls, royal buildings, 
seal inscriptions, towers, and a four room house.
The most amazing discovery has been
 Hezekiah's Tunnel-next. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Southern Steps- Jerusalem

The Southern Wall is at the southern end
 of the Temple Mount 
and the former southern side
 of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. 
It was built during King Herod's expansion 
of the Temple Mount platform.

The Southern Wall is 922 feet in length. 
The enormous retaining wall is built
 of enormous blocks of Jerusalem stone, 
the face of each ashlar(block) is edged with a margin. 
The unmortared blocks are so
 finely fitted together that a knife blade
 cannot be inserted between the blocks.

Pilgrims in the time of Jesus
 entered through these gates into the Temple precincts.
In the post-1967 dig,
 it was discovered that the Hulda gates
 led into a grand staircase
 and served as the principle entrance
 to the temple in the Roman period.

An enormous flight of steps leads to the 
Southern Wall from the South.
They were evacuated after 1967,
 by archeologist Benjamin Mazar
 and are the northernmost extension
 of the Jerusalem pilgrim road
 leading from the Pool of Siloam
 to the Temple Mount 
via the Double Gate and the Triple Gate,
 collectively called the Huldah Gates.
These are the steps that Jesus of Nazareth
 and other Jews
 of his era walked up to approach the Temple,
 especially on the great pilgrimage festivals.
 The stairs that lead to the double gate
 are intact and "well-preserved."
Perhaps Jesus sang the songs of Ascent
 as he walked up to the Temple on these very stairs.

Our Tour Group- LCMS District Presidents at the top of the Southern Steps
 with Tour Leader Tom Krause on the right.

Our Tour Group-The LCMS District President's wives
 at the top of the Southern steps
 with Tour Leader Miriam Krause on the right.

Rev. Tom and Miriam Krause- Tour Leaders

The view of Jerusalem from the Southern steps

These large stones in front of the gate openings
 are where Jesus would have passed through-
 perhaps this very spot.

Breathe in the closeness of our Savior-
living, walking, singing, stopping, resting,
looking out over Jerusalem, 
looking up at Temple Mount,
praying right here.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Pools of Bethesda

There are still more sites right in Jerusalem from our trip to Israel.

Adjacent to the Church of Saint Anne
 are the two Pools of Bethesda,
(meaning "house of mercy" in Hebrew)
 surrounded by five colonnaded porches. 
The Upper Pool was dug during the 8th century BC
 and is mentioned in 2 Kings.
The pools were originally located near the Sheep Gate
 and were used to wash the sheep
 that were brought to the Temple for sacrifice.
This is in the Muslim Quarter
 of the Old City of Jerusalem
 right outside of Stephan's Gate.

A second pool was dug during the third century BC
 by Simon the High Priest.
Many Jewish people believed that the water
 held special power since
 it was used for religious purposes.
At the time of Christ,
 tradition taught that an angel would descend
 from heaven to stir the waters and the first
 to enter after the stirring received divine healing.
Recent excavations in the 1960's discovered
 the remains of Byzantine and Crusader Churches here.
(Crosses on the columns)
They were built here to preserve the location
 of the miraculous healing story.
Many invalids sat or lay under the porches
 waiting to be healed.
 The pools were fed by rainwater 
and underground springs.

This is the setting for John 5: 1-15,
 where Jesus encountered
 a paralytic who had been waiting for 38 years
 to be healed by the pool. 
Jesus demonstrated that he had the power
 to heal and the right to do it on the Sabbath.

God is a God who heals.
HE brings healing touches to our lives -
 even TODAY.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Church of St. Anne- Jerusalem

Near the Biblical- Pools of Bethesda
 is the Church of St. Anne.

Church of St. Anne
It is a Crusader Church built in the 12th century,
 and located in the Muslim Quarter 
near the Lion's Gate.
 It was erected over a cave believed to be
 the home of Mary's parents.
The structure was built between 1131 and 1138,
and incorporates the rock grotto
 into an impressive church.
It serves as a great example of Romanesque architecture.
In 1192, when Saladin and the Mameluke army
 captured Jerusalem, they turned the church
 into a Muslim theological school.
Later it was abandoned, fell into ruin,
 and the Ottomans donated it to France in 1856,
 when repairs were undertaken.
St. Anne's Church- Jerusalem

The acoustics in the church are world renown,
 as it was designed for Gregorian chants. 
Visitors are permitted to sing religious songs here -
 and we did just that.

Psalm 98 is a beautiful praise to read here.
"Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!"

When Heaven Touches Earth

And you realize that some things may never be the same
As God's hand of creation is handed right into your lap

And you realize that perfection is about His workmanship

And maybe you can REALLY see GOD smile

And  a mother's heart sees the next generation 
begin the life long journey of nurturing to send

Griffin Joshua Schumacher
Born April 9, 2014
8 pounds 3 oz
21 inches

mom and dad- Laura and Joshua

Monday, April 21, 2014

Lent 2014 calendar

The past few years I have kept this as part of my Lenten practice-
 the one word a day visual for my Lenten journey.

This year I read a Lenten devotional called
 Christ Our Hope
 with excerpts
 from the writings of 
Henri J.M. Nouwen.

Praying as I went throughout this time of reading
 and looking at the Biblical applications that one word 
would be the highlight focus for my day.

It has proved to be a powerful visual description
 as well as the collection of words that make this 
Spiritual Discipline
a great tool for me in my faith life walk.
It has been a blessing.

I downloaded this calendar from Sybil McBeth's blog here-
praying in color calendar

I have completed my walk in Israel for Lent,
 and up to Jerusalem for Holy Week.
There are more sites that I will be describing
 in the next few weeks of our time in Israel- 
but they may be interspersed with other life happenings.

Like---- I have my first Grandchild this month!!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Garden Tomb-- in Jerusalem

For we sing Alleuia!!!  He is not Here!
 For He is Risen! 
He is Risen Indeed!
A few yards to the west of  Golgotha-
 (the place of the skull)
 a garden tomb was discovered in 1867.
It was early identified as a possible burial place of Jesus.
 Early British acceptance declared this as the official site,
 rather than the traditional Holy Sepulcher Church.

A stone like this was rolled away.
 The deep channel along the ground is the groove
 for the rolling stone used to seal the tomb.
This quiet, contemplative site
 is a favorite spot for Protestant visitation. 
An outdoor chapel setting with benches
 allows for a gathering spot for readings of the
 crucifixion, burial and resurrection.

Perhaps not the crowded site
 of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, 
where religiosity reigns in busy, ornate worship.
But, a quiet garden here allows a visitor time
 to reflect on the gift of grace. 
 As a follower of Jesus,
 I walk in a loving relationship
 with the One who gave His life for me.
So, because every day is Easter ...
we rejoice.
He is Risen!  He is Risen Indeed!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Golgotha and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher

The Place of the skull-Golgotha. 
Where public display of painful death
 was inflicted on a condemned victim.
 It was about being on display
 as well as the slow and brutal form of death,
 A victim carried his own thirty or forty pound
 wooden patibulum- or crossbeam.
Paul Maier speaks of Gordon's Calvary-
"a somewhat skull-shaped hillock
 overlooking the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem,
 which British General Charles Gordon
 assumed was the crucifixion site, in 1883.
But, attractive as the location is, 
Gordon's Calvary and the nearby "Garden Tomb"
 in which Jesus was presumably buried,
 have no ancient historical traditions
 to authenticate them. 
The traditional site, 
at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, does."
For both traditional  and archaeological reasons, 
the Holy Sepulcher Church is considered 
the most likely place for the death and burial of Jesus. 
Though it is is within the modern days walls of the Old City,
 there is evidence that this was outside the 
Jerusalem walls during the First Century A.D.
According to the writing of Eusebius 
(c. 260-340 AD) the Christian community
 of Jerusalem venerated 
this area as the site of Christ's crucifixion until 66 AD. 
Then the Roman Emperor Hadrian built a Temple of Venus
 over the site in what some believe 
was an attempt to nullify the holiness of the site.
Then in 325-26 AD Emperor Constantine I, a Christian, 
ordered the destruction of the pagan temple
 and charged his mother, Helena, 
with the task of building a basilica on the site.
 In 335 AD the Sepulcher Church was dedicated.
Then in 614 AD, the church was damaged by
 the invading Persians.
12 years later they built a larger church
 on the foundation of the original church. 
Another 400 years later, the church had more destruction
 at the hands of Muslim leader- Caliph Hakim,
 and much of the preserved tomb
 of Christ was destroyed.
In the 11th century the rotunda was restored. 
Much of the that church seen today is from the 
Crusader time  (12-13th century),
except the dome which was more recently rebuilt.

What is remarkable of this space is that it is shared by various Christian traditions. The Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Roman Catholic, Coptic Orthodox, Ethiopian Orthodox, and Assyrian Orthodox Churches all assume responsibility for various parts of the church. This includes the Stone of Anointing, the Rock of the Calvary, the Prison of Christ, 
the chapel of the Nailing of the Cross, and the Tomb itself.
 Yet, none of these groups control the MAIN ENTRANCE  which has been under the control of 2 Muslim families since the days of Caliph Omar in 637
 and reestablished by Muslim leader Saladin in 1192. 
While this site is perhaps challenging for 
Western Protestant Christians to find worshipful, 
this small cross etched in an outside stone block 
became a focal point. 
The place and the site and the pieces of the story
 are critical in this Holy Week remembrance.
But, most of all it is the relationship with Jesus
 we need to be transfixed with,
 and not the trappings of all the
 religiosity of the traditions
that may tempt to draw away our focus.
We know that Josephus of Arimathea
 asked Pilate's permission
 to remove the body of Jesus from the cross and bury it. 
He was helped by his colleague- Nicodemus.
Pilate continued to be amazed at the
 power of this man Jesus,
 and sent a group of Temple guards
 to make sure that the tomb was not tampered
 with somehow by his fanatic followers.
Matt. 27:63
For the Pharisees remembered what he had said
 about rising again in three days, 
and that story of deception by his followers 
would be their worst nightmare.
And our greatest HOPE.