Thursday, July 20, 2017

Survey Results: Favorite Site in Jerusalem

Jerusalem is a place deeply meaningful to so many people. It is not only full of history, but it is also full of the future. I really enjoyed reading through your responses on this survey, for we all feel passionately about this city!

The site chosen by more than any other was Hezekiah’s Tunnel. When you add the second most common response, the City of David, it’s obvious that the most ancient part of Jerusalem is a clear favorite. It wasn’t that many years ago that few people visited the City of David or walked through Hezekiah’s Tunnel. That has changed with recent development, and now you need to get reservations weeks or months in advance and pay more than 5 shekels for entrance!

Here’s why a few of you chose Hezekiah’s Tunnel as your favorite:

Fascinating history, quiet, away from crowds”

I love the feeling of re-living biblical history. I love teaching on the water systems of Jerusalem and seeing the joy of discovery on friends’ and study tour participants’ faces!”

(1) It's just as it was (not just ruins). (2) It's mentioned very specifically in the Bible, and was important. (3) Its discovery bolstered confidence in the Biblical record. (4) It's good fun walking through it. (5) Not many people do walk it, so you feel you're getting a special treat!”

The City of David provoked several interesting responses, including these:

In spite its small size (10 acres), the City of David contains an incredible amount of tangible evidence demonstrating the historical reliability of the Bible.

It is so important, so controversial, and still so difficult to figure out. I keep going back only to be more confused and intrigued. Who can help me?

Another favorite is just up the hill: the excavations on the south side of the Temple Mount.

Story of Mary, Joseph, Jesus and Simeon in Luke 2

Robinson's arch, Herodian street and sewer tunnel, old shops, Roman destruction, mikvahs, are ancient history.  But you can also see the new Jewish quarter with its synagogues and Torah schools and the Muslim minarets on the Haram that remind you of the mix of societies living here today. . . . So much history meeting today all in one spot.

The Garden Tomb and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher received an equal number of votes. I’m not sure if I know those who voted for the Garden Tomb, but all (three) who chose the Holy Sepulcher are biblical scholars. Why the Holy Sepulcher?

My fascination with the burial of Jesus, among other things!

As close as it is possible to get to the place where Jesus died and rose.

One person who chose the Garden Tomb wrote:

That's where I realized that He is not there but He has risen!

The Western Wall received three votes. Why?

It's close to the Holy of Holies, had great prayerful experiences there with friends, and loved watching the feast of tabernacles and witnessing Jewish culture.  It's beautiful at night!

Bringing in the Shabbat with singing and dancing.

Several people chose locations for their views of the city, but they didn’t choose the same location:

Mount of Olives: From the Mount of Olives you can look down at the Temple Mount and so much biblical history took place right there from the Old Testament to the New Testament and to think of what will happen in the future there at that site!

Ramparts Walk: It affords the best views of the city, a good overview of the surrounding topography and you can see the dovetailing of Jordanian defense walls with those from 1492. You also have a good view of the recent excavations on Mt. Zion as well as interesting portions of the Arab quarter.

Herod’s Tower: The timeless, expansive view of most of the Old City, Temple Mount, Mount of Olive's, Holy Sepulchre, St. John of Hospitallers.  Perhaps the best view of the City.

A number of you picked the Pools of Bethesda/St. Anne’s Church, the Mount of Olives (including Gethsemane), the Israel Museum (including the model of Jerusalem and the Shrine of the Book), and Yad VaShem.

Let me wrap it up with a couple of the more unusual choices.

Church of the Sepulchre of Saint Mary: Awesome stairs going DOWN inside the entrance with a mixed ecclesiological history. Great architecture!

Atop the Russian Ascension Bell Tower, Mount of Olives: Of course, this is a place I have yet to get to, but based on images I have seen taken from this vantage point, the view of the Old (and New) City westward, and the views eastward across the wilderness, with a excellent camera to capture the view, would be my FAVORITE site in Jerusalem. Perhaps one day!

Interestingly enough, no one picked my favorite place in Jerusalem: the Temple Mount. It can be difficult to get up there, but I make every effort with every group I lead because:

  • There are so many awesome Bible stories to talk about here, including God’s choice of the spot, Solomon’s dedication of the temple, Jesus’s visits, the apostles in Solomon’s colonnade, and Paul’s arrest.
  • It’s a good place to talk about Islam, including its (occasional) interest in Jerusalem.
  • You just cannot grasp how large the Temple Mount is until you’re there.
  • God is not done here. There is no place on the planet more central to the fulfillment of God’s purposes.

Thank you for participating! We’ll do another survey in a week or two.

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