Traveling to the Holy Land has been an overwhelming experience for me. Really amazing experience after another just brings you tears and leaves you in awe, but one such place was walking the Herodian Street. We were told if there was one place in all of Israel where we can be 100% certain that Jesus walked it was here on Herodian Street!!!
The Holy Land – Herodian Street
New Discoveries In The Holy Land, Old Sewers, and Temple Stones
Herodian Street in The Holy Land was the main street from the 1st Century BC built by Herod the Great. In Jesus’ time, this was not only a very busy street but the main street that started down at the pool of Silom and ran up to the northwest corner of the temple mount, below the western retaining wall. In fact, it would have been bustling full of shops where the people could buy the sacrificial animals and take them up to the temple to offer as their sacrifice.
The Holy Land – Robinson’s Arch In Jesus’ Footsteps
At the end of the Herodian street, down by the temple, there used to be a huge arch that held up a gigantic staircase that led up to the top of the temple mount where Herod the Great had built a large shopping mall. It is now called Robinson’s Arch for the American archeologist who came to the Holy Land and discovered the arch in the 1800s. You can still see where it was originally attached. Jesus would have not only walked on this street but up these stairs to the mall which is where he turned over the tables of the money changers.
It would be the way that Mary and Joseph with twelve-year-old Jesus went to offer sacrifice during their visit to the Holy Land at Passover in Luke 2:41-49. When Mary and Joseph along with their family and friends notice on their way back home that Jesus isn’t with their party and go back to Jerusalem to find him teaching at the temple.
41 His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when He was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem according to the custom of the feast. 43 When they had finished the days, as they returned, the Boy Jesus lingered behind in Jerusalem. And b]Joseph and His mother did not know it; 44 but supposing Him to have been in the company, they went a day’s journey, and sought Him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 So when they did not find Him, they returned to Jerusalem, seeking Him. 46 Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers. 48 So when they saw Him, they were amazed; and His mother said to Him, “Son, why have You done this to us? Look, Your father and I have sought You anxiously.”
49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?”
Can you see the supportive stones jutting out from the wall where the arch was once attached?
“Then Jesus went into the temple of God and drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold doves.” Matthew 21:12 NKJV
When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned tables. And He said to those who sold doves,
“Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise!”: John 2;15-16 NKJV
The street itself still is covered with large pavement stones made of limestone which is in excellent condition. See a picture of our feet on this street where Jesus walked – WOW!!!
The Holy Land – Stones Of The Temple
Stacked against the retaining wall and lay scattered on the street are the remnants of the massive temple stones that were thrown down by the Roman soldiers in 70 AD during the destruction of the Second Temple. These are not just little stones either. The smallest is 2.5 tons and the largest is over 600 tons!
“Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone shall be left upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” Mark 13:1-2 NKJV
Herod died in 4 AD. In 66 AD the Jews started a revolt against the Romans. Yes, the Jews were rebelling against the harsh Roman rule and yes, Caesar sent his son, General Titus to suppress the rebellion. However, it was not the intent of the Romans to destroy the Temple. In the heat of the battle, we’re told, drapes in the temple caught on fire. The gold around the massive stones started to melt and the soldiers went nuts so to speak to get every ounce of gold from those temple stones. In the frenzy, stones were pushed over the wall onto the street below to access more gold. Hence, again JESUS IS 100% ACCURATE AND TRUE! Not one stone remains on top of another approximately 38 years later. The disciples couldn’t in their wildest imagination picture that these great, wonderful buildings would be destroyed. These gigantic stones were supposed to show the might and the strength of not only Herod the Great but the Roman Empire.
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Holy Land Tunnels and Sewers
How did we arrive on this street you might ask? Well after climbing down from the rooftop of King David’s palace, we saw a new archeological dig where once a large parking lot existed. Using ultrasound or similar technology, they believed something was underneath the asphalt. Sure enough, it was. 3000-year-old ruins of a town and living quarters revealing where people would have lived outside the palace of King David! From this discovery, which we could see was a work in progress, they also discovered a tunnel. This tunnel previously was a sewer system that led UNDER the streets that Jesus walked on going all the way back to King Hezekiah! These tunnels not only carry the sewage water and waste out of the city to the Kidron Valley, but were used as a hiding place when they were under siege in the last rebellion against the Romans.
A little apprehensive about walking in a sewer and tunnel 3000 years old, I said what the heck and went for it! Eric told me to go ahead without him. He is 6’4” and some spots may require bending over for large sections. He told me he’d meet me on the other side along with those that were claustrophobic. So, I headed off into the tunnel with my other travel adventurers.
We walked on a pathway 50’ or so above the dig down one side and around the others side (see pictures). At the end was the old sewer entrance. Luckily no remnants of sewage.
I wasn’t sure where exactly this was taking us but I did know that we were walking UNDER the Herodian Street where Jesus walked! Thousands of years perhaps before he was there. In one section, we saw one of the temple stones that were thrown off the mount.
The sewer caught and stopped the stone from penetrating and blocking the passageway. Sadly, one of the discoveries in this system of ancient tunnels was an old Roman sword. During the revolt, the last Jewish Rebels who remained in the city hid in this system of tunnels under the city of Jerusalem, and they were discovered and killed. The excavators found remnants of pottery, coins, and other items in these tunnels that the people left behind there.
Holy Land – The Stones Of The Destroyed Temple
On we went through the tunnel, it was 700 meters total which is a little less than a ½ mile I think- or 2,297 feet. Then we were back out into the light and standing on Herodian Street and staring into the massive fallen stones of the temple!
This way you are seeing in the picture above would have been filled with thousands of pilgrims headed up to the Pool of Siloam.
When I connected back with Eric, I learned he was convinced to go through the tunnel as well and was no worse for wear. In fact, it wasn’t bad at all.
Holy Land Temple Inscription
On these stones from the temple, they found a Hebrew inscription from
Isaiah 66:14 “When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, And your bones shall flourish like grass; The hand of the Lord shall be known to His servants And His indignation to His enemies. NKJV
This is both a Messianic prophecy talking about the return of Christ and the return of the lands to Israel.
So much more of the Holy Land, so much more, and it is right around the corner!
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Visiting The Holy Land – To see the rest of this journey here
- Visiting The Holy Land
- Holy Land Tour: Jerusalem
- Holy Land Tour | Qumran
- Holy Land Tour | En- Gedi
- Holy Land Tour | Masada
- Holy Land Tour | Israel The City of David
- Holy Land Tour | Israel & The Mount of Olives
- The Kidron Valley AKA The Valley of Jehoshaphat
- Holy Land Tour | Herodian Street, New Discovery, Old Sewers, and Temple Stones
- Next Up -Holy Land Tour | David and Goliath
- Holy Land Tour | YAD- Hashmona -Memorial To The Eight
- Holy Land Tour | The Sea of Galilee
- Holy Land Tour | Capharnaum – Jesus’s Headquarters
- Holy Land Tour | The Seven Springs, The Great Catch and the Fishing Boat
Debbie lives in Southern California with her husband Doug and her children and grandchildren.