On Sunday, we went to the City of David and had the opportunity to explore Hezekiah’s Tunnel. We started at a lookout and then walked the tunnel. We were blown away by not only the marvel of engineering that it is, but also the fact that it testifies so strongly to the faithfulness of God to fulfill His promises!
We started by walking to a lookout that was right above the mini theater where they showed a brief 3D film on the history of the City of David and Hezekiah’s tunnel. From this rooftop, you find yourself looking across the valley of Kidron. It looks like there are many windows carved into the mountain beneath the houses, but we heard a tour guide telling his group that they were actually tombs. (You can read about one of these tombs in Isaiah 22:16.)
After we watched the movie, we walked down toward the information center and followed the blue signs to the tunnel. We had to descend a metal spiral staircase to go further underground and begin the journey through Hezekiah’s Tunnel.
The initial tunnel we found ourselves in was once used by Joab, sent by David, to take the city of Salem from the Jebusites. King David sent Joab to climb a 40 foot vertical shaft, up from the the City’s water supply (the Gihon spring), all the way into the Jebusites fortified city. From there, Joab was able to open the gate and let the armies of David in to conquer the city.
We had to pass through a narrow opening to get from this tunnel into the start of Hezekiah’s Tunnel where the water is flowing.
This tunnel was formed by the Israelites around 700 bc to move water from the Gihon spring- a fresh water source just outside of the walls of the city- to the pool of Siloam, which was located at just a slightly lower elevation than the spring inside the walls of the city. They call it “Hezekiah’s Tunnel” because 2 Chronicles 32:30 attributes this feat to Hezekiah, the 13th king of Judah.
The tunnel is about 1800 feet and successfully gave the city of Jerusalem a lasting water supply in the face of an Assyrian invasion. Although this was an incredibly arduous task and is said to have taken all of king Hezekiah’s might, it was imperative for the survival of the city. The Assyrian army had decimated the 10 tribes of the north and the Kingdom of Judah was all that remained.
The Assyrian King, Sennacherib, endeavored to conquer Jerusalem and Judah, despite the prophet Isaiah’s declarations of God’s sovereign protection over the nation. Sennacherib’s advisor went to King Hezekiah trying to shake his trust in Adonai and attempted multiple times to dissuade the people of Israel saying that the Lord would not deliver them.
As you may well know, if you have already read the story, the Lord did deliver Jerusalem, sending the angel of death to drive the king away. This permitted the survival of the kingdom of Judah, and kept them from the same fate as the legendary “Lost 10 tribes of Israel.”
no tunnel, no messiah?
This turn of events was essential not only for the survival of Israel, but also because the prophesied Messiah was to be of the line of Judah (Genesis 49:10).
It’s wild to think that if there had not been victory in this moment of history, there would be no Messiah. At least not the Messiah that the Prophets spoke of. The One who would come to bring salvation to the Jews needed to fulfill all of the hundreds of prophecies that were recorded about the Messiah. Coming from the tribe of Judah was an important prerequisite for this individual.
In the face of incredible opposition, Israel received the protection and provision of the Lord as He fought for His people and His word. This tunnel played such a crucial role in the survival of Israel, and therefore the coming of the Messiah, by supplying Jerusalem with an unquenchable water supply.
He will keep His word.
What started as just a cool piece of history and a tunnel in the ground became a refreshing reminder that the Lord truly is so faithful. His prophets gave His word that the Jewish Messiah would come through the tribe of Judah. When this tribe faced the same enemy that had scattered ten other tribes of Israel, Adonai intervened with divine wisdom which resulted in a marvel of engineering that played a huge part in saving His people. He also provided protection in the form of an angel to fight for Israel as well. Was Hezekiah thinking about the coming Messiah when they were building the tunnel? Probably not. But even in that it goes to show how faithfully God is working to fulfill His word and Big Picture purposes even when we are unaware. He is working for my personal good as an intimate God and Friend, while simultaneously working for the global Bride’s good as an omnipotent Lord and Messiah.
I doubt many of us on here have faced a national siege, but it can still be so easy to get caught up in scary unknowns, wild transitions, and day-to-day worries. Whether you just made an international move like me or are in the middle of preparations for the upcoming school year back in the States, there will always be daily battles to face and lies to uproot. Honestly, the matter of grace is still a learning point for me, and I’m continuing to renew my mind by the Word and Spirit to understand this deeply transformative aspect of the Gospel. In the midst of so much transition and unknowns, I have found that I can slip into a mindset of wanting to control. It’s an old reality for me that in my uncertainty, I try to take the lead. I busy up my schedule, or at least my state of mind, with things I can control to make up for feeling so… out-of-control. I’ve started realizing that I believe (even if subconsciously) the lie that no one is strong enough or wise enough to protect me or lead me well. If I don’t take care of me, who will?
The truth is: the same God who fought so valiantly for His people so many years ago is the same God that I know, love, and serve (Hebrews 13:8). His Spirit lives inside of me (Romans 6:10-11)! This reality gives me permission to rest in the knowledge that He is my defender. He is my guardian God. He is always working for His glory and my good, even when I don’t see it in the moment. After all, He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). He who began working in me will see it to completion (Philippians 1:6). He always finishes what He starts- in my life, in my family, and in the earth. From sending a Messiah that He promised all the way back in the Garden of Eden, to holding me fast day in and day out.
Even if it involves an international move. Even when I’m on overload as I adjust to new time zones and cultures, find new rhythms, eat new food, and learn a new language. He is my Jehovah-Sabaoth (Protector) and Jehovah Jireh (Provider). Even when your work schedule is crazy or you’re overwhelmed with school assignments. He is your Jehovah-Shalom (Perfect Peace). Where He leads, He will sustain.
It is so encouraging to know that I have the freedom and grace to choose to rest in His faithfulness today. This omnipotent yet intimate One is so willing and able to keep all of His promises and work all things for good- for us, our families, and to His Bride in the earth. In our weakness, His power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9-10). What a joy to know that there is so much grace for us to lean into in every moment of every day. And what a relief to know that this grace requires nothing from us (Ephesians 2:8-9).
We can simply receive.
if you have an extra moment:
read: 2 Kings 18 and 19
listen: Omnipotent Yet Intimate by Ben Potter & Elyssa Smith and Color (Spontaneous) by Upperroom ft. Elyssa Smith
watch: our Hezekiah’s Tunnel vlog
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