Studium Theologicum Salesianum
Salesian Pontifical University : Faculty of Theology - Jerusalem Campus



7 April 2016, STS – Jerusalem

By Mwampoteki Joseph, M. Afr.

Once again, the first year students and some from the other year groups enjoyed a Topographical Visit to a very ancient city of David’s Jerusalem close to the Temple Mount. In Psalm 122:3, this city is mentioned: “Jerusalem built up, a city knit together”

Firstly, we visited the remains of what is believed to be the David’s house or palace (cf. 2 Samuel 5:11). Surprisingly, the city which was built in the Bronze Age, was only discovered in 2005, just a decade ago. It is amazing to see the remains of a city built before the existence of the first temple. On the hillside under the house of David there is a stepped stone structure, which seems to support David’s palace. Around the stepped stone structure there are remains of other houses such as the house of Ahiel. The name Ahiel was found in the ruins of the house - that is why it is believed that it was his house.  From 1 Chronicles 15:1, we know of houses surrounding David’s house. Astonishingly, there is also a room that is burnt; the burnt remains date back to the time of the first temple destruction (2 Kings 25:8-9). Many other things were found during the excavations, which had elements from the first temple period, for instance, clay seal impressions (Bullae collection) that had names of the first temple period such as Gemariahu (Jeremiah 36:10).

Regarding the remains found here, the house is that of a King. The houses surrounding it are royal houses with even a toilet discovered. In our modern world, hardly anyone can imagine such a life in Bronze Age. They found burnt wood (due to the fire of the first temple destruction), and after scientific analysis, it was discovered that the wood was imported from Syria. These elements suggest that the people here were very rich. Therefore, it is probably, the remains of King David’s Palace.

Before going under the ground where we walked on the spring water, we saw the tombs that were used before Jesus Christ. Today, on top of these tombs are the houses of Palestinians. Probably, there are many other ancient tombs underneath the Palestinians’ houses on the eastern side just opposite to the David’s palace.

After seeing the City of David, we walked in Hezekiah’s Tunnel, which has flowing water from the Gihon spring. King Hezekiah diverted this tunnel for military reasons (2 Chronicles 32:4) from its natural tunnel called the Canaanite tunnel, which is higher than Hezekiah’s Tunnel. It was the most interesting part of our visit. We walked for around 40 minutes in the very cool water, which covered at least our feet. Our torches helped to provide light; otherwise, the tunnel is in total darkness. We followed up to where water pours, the Shiloah pool (2 Kings 20:20). Unfortunately, the Shiloah (Siloam) pool is now a very fertile a garden, indicating just how much water lies beneath it.

The Shiloah pool marked the end of our visit.  Interestingly, through a different tunnel, which was dry, we came out from this city of David. There was still more to see, but because we live in a time and space, we hope to return in another given time and space. The visit was a beautiful experience guided by Fr. Pol Vonck M.Afr.  We thank him for sharing his time and knowledge with us.

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