Today’s Word from Pastor Jim… 

2700 years ago, Hezekiah was the King of Israel. The masterpiece of his Kingdom was the Holy City of Jerusalem, the City of David. Built at the top of Mount Zion in the Judaean hills, Jerusalem had one primary water source: the Gihon Spring. King Hezekiah understood that this made Jerusalem vulnerable to invading armies. 2400 years before the founding of the United States, King Hezekiah challenged his engineers to solve the problem by carving a tunnel through the bedrock under the City of David. The S shaped tunnel would span 1,750 feet bringing the water of the Gihon into the city. The water tunnel helped Jerusalem survive the siege of the Assyrian army in 701 BCE. The Bible made mention of this engineering marvel on more than one occasion.

“This same Hezekiah closed the upper outlet of the waters of Gihon and directed them down to the west side of the city of David. Hezekiah prospered in all his works.” 2 Chronicles 32:30

Over the past 30 years I have taken groups to Israel. We visit the City of David which is now just outside the walls of the old city. If our schedule cooperates, our pilgrims are given the opportunity to walk through the ancient water tunnel. It is an Indiana Jones experience that most groups and most pilgrims do not experience. After a considerable descent below the City of David, the entrance to the tunnel draws near. The sound of running water echoes through the bedrock and then it is time to wade into the darkness. There are no lights in the water tunnel, total darkness will accompany you on the journey unless you bring a flashlight. The water runs ankle to knee deep. The walls are moist, still bearing the marks of the chisels that formed the tunnel. The ceiling above you ranges from about 5’ to 15’. Once you step into the tunnel there is no going back, the 30 minute journey only goes one way. Finally, one sees light at the end of the tunnel, and you emerge into the sun-drenched Pool of Siloam. It is an adventure that few embark on and is impossible to forget.

Reflecting on Hezekiah’s water tunnel this week, it seems to offer a metaphor for our lives. How often we commit to a journey of faith toward an end that cannot be seen. How often we set out into waters descending into the darkness of the unknown. Couples step into marriage making promises for life. Parents rejoice at the birth of children, not realizing just how long and twisting the tunnel ahead will be. We chart a course of treatment for cancer, unsure if there will be light at the end of the tunnel. We come face to face with our own mortality and we wonder what waits for us on the other side of death.

Hezekiah’s water tunnel and life only move in one direction, there is no going back, there is no return to the beginning or to days whose stories have already been written. Knee deep in running water, darkness surrounding us, we have never been in this tunnel, we don’t know what is around the next curve, but we move on toward the promised light. We have faith in ancient engineers who plotted the course. We have faith in a God that we cannot see, in a God whose existence cannot be proven. We find comfort in the presence of wet footed wanderers who share the pathway. One step at a time, always moving forward, beholding the beauty of even the darkness, knowing that we have been gifted with this moment, we believe that we too will one day arrive and bathe in the warmth of the sun.

One beggar telling another where to find bread, I am your

Pastor Jim

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