Glimpses of Israel - Excavations Reveal Jerusalem

by Joseph Hunting

Just to walk through the gates of the Old City of Jerusalem and to roam its ancient streets is an experience never to be forgotten. But there is something unreal about walking along streets that have just been excavated where Jewish feet haven't walked for nineteen centuries, and to step over the threshold of a home that once knew all the warmth and love of family life. This was actually part of the Holy City which rang with the shouts of praise that heralded Messiah's entry fulfilling Zechariah's prophecy: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee; He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass." (9:9).

Present-day Jerusalem within the massive walls of the Old City dates back to 1535 A.D. Before that, the Crusaders and Saracens fought over the city which was destroyed and rebuilt several times following its destruction by the Romans in 70 A.D. Each time Jerusalem was destroyed, the rubble, together with that of previous destructions, filled its valleys and levelled its distinctive features. In many places the archaeologists sift through fifteen to twenty feet of rubble to reach the original level.

The glory that was once Jerusalem's ended after a long siege by the Romans under the command of Titus. Jeremiah's lament over Jerusalem plumbs the depth of anguish and sorrow that has echoed down the centuries. "How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How is she become as a widow … Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Behold and see if there is any sorrow like unto my sorrow ..." And One greater than Jeremiah wept over Jerusalem with the words: "If thou hadst known, even thou, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! But now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee around, and keep thee in on every side, and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation." (Luke 19:41-44).