Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

Homily Podcast



Holy Land Pilgrimage Day 70

February 8th, 2007, by Fr. Shawn P. Tunink

After having class all morning we had the afternoon free and I finally got to make the hike through Hezekiah’s tunnel in the City of David. As I mentioned earlier, this water tunnel was created by King Hezekiah in 701 BC when Jerusalem was threatened by an impending siege. The source of water for Jerusalem was the Gihon spring which was outside the city walls. In order to protect the water, King Hezekiah created a tunnel through the bedrock under the city. The brought the water from the spring on the east side to the Pool of Siloam on the west side which was inside the city. This allowed Jerusalem to withstand the siege where many other cities of Judah fell. Water from the spring still flows today as it did 2700 years ago, so the tunnel has water flowing through it. I went with a friend (he was not only good company, but also serves as my witness that I actually did this) and we came prepared for getting wet.

Gihon Spring
The Gushing Gihon Spring Flowing Into the Tunnel

As it turns out the water never got more than just above the knees and most times it was about midcalf. The neatest thing about this experience was knowing that you were walking through a tunnel that was chiseled by hand 2700 year ago. You could look at the chisel marks and think of the men that constructed this engineering marvel. Amazingly, they actually started work from both ends of the tunnel and met in the middle. An inscription found in the tunnel details how the two crews met in the middle and the water began flowing. The text of the inscription dates the tunnel definitely to the time of the 7th-8th century BC, thus leaving no doubt that this is in fact the tunnel of Hezekiah mentioned in the Bible.

Me in Hezekiah's Tunnel
Me in Hezekiah’s Tunnel

This adventure is definitely not for the claustrophobic as the tunnel is 533 meters long and it took us about half an hour walking underground through a rather narrow and sometimes short passageway, all the time sloshing threw a running stream and hoping that our flashlights didn’t go out. Well, actually I wasn’t too worried about the flashlight. You could easily do this in complete darkness since there’s only one way to go. It was nice to see light on the other end when we reached the Pool of Siloam, but I was most happy to able to say that I made it. This was an experience that I will not soon forget and a story that will definitely be told whenever this scripture passage comes up.

Pool of Siloam
The Pool of Siloam at the End of the Tunnel

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