New Discovery, Old Sewers, and Temple Stones
An overwhelming experience, and let’s face it there have been many, was walking on 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 the Herodian Street!!!
Herodian Street was a 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.
At the end of the street by the temple, there used to be a huge arch that held up a gigantic staircase which 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 discovered the arch in the 1800’s. 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.
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“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 pavements made of limestone which is in excellent condition. See a picture of our feet on this street where Jesus walked – WOW!!!
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 over 600 tons!
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“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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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/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, but was used as a hiding place when they were under siege.
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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 30’ or so above the dig down one side and around the others side (see pictures). At the end was the sewer entrance. Luckily no remnants of sewage.
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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 was a Roman sword. During the revolt, the last Jewish Rebels who remained in the city hid in this system. They were discovered and killed.
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 the Herodian Street and staring into the massive fallen stones of the temple!
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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.
On these stones, 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, so much more and right around the corner!
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Debbie lives in Southern California with her husband Doug and her children and grandchildren.
Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version Copyright @ 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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