Scripture Comes Alive in the City of David

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Within the ancient walls of the City of David, King David penned the Psalms. Here, the prophecies of Jeremiah and Isaiah first thundered, and Nehemiah returned from Babylon to rebuild the walls of this beloved city. Some 2,000 years ago, Jesus walked these very streets.

Today, a visit to the City of David brings the Bible alive.

"It's almost like we found the Bible for the very first time," said Doron Spielman, spokesman for the City of David Foundation (Ir David, in Hebrew). "You can go line by line in the Bible and place by place here and relive these scenes," he said.

Spielman describes the merging of antiquities and the Bible in the City of David as a revolution.

"Here is a revolution in which the archaeological world and the written world of the Bible have met…in a way that doesn't happen anywhere else in the world," he said.

One such revolutionary find may be the palace of King David.

Archaeologist Eilat Mazar and her colleague Gabi Barkai head up the excavation of David's palace.

"Its monumentality is obvious," Mazar told CBN News. "Everybody can see -- and also its date -- being constructed around 1000 B.C.," she said.

Recently, Mazar's team uncovered an ancient seal from First Temple times, which dates to the sixth century B.C.

Journey to Ancient Jerusalem

For Miriam Berkowitz, who guides tour groups through the City of David, it's a biblical journey.

"This is the original Jerusalem. This is where it all began," Berkowitz said.

Here you can see the Gihon Spring, ancient Jerusalem's main water supply, mentioned in the Book of 2 Chronicles.

You can walk through the tunnel built by King Hezekiah in the seventh century B.C, designed to protect the city's water supply from the siege of the Assyrian King Sennacherib.

You can touch the walls rebuilt under Nehemiah's stewardship, recorded in the books of Nehemiah and Ezra.

Pool of Siloam

Just a few years ago, archaeologists uncovered the Pool of Siloam, mentioned by Nehemiah and again in the miraculous healing of the man blind from birth, recorded in the ninth chapter of John's Gospel.

"We read in the Gospel of John the story of the healing of the blind man," said Haifa University Professor Ronnie Reich, who led the team that uncovered the Pool of Siloam and a nearby 2,000-year-old road.

The steps that Reich's team uncovered lead from the Pool of Siloam all the way up to the Temple Mount. These are the steps Jesus walked when he celebrated the feasts -- Pesach (Passover), Shavuot (Feast of Weeks, Pentecost), and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles).

"I simply can see that he walked this way. There is no other way from the Pool of Siloam to the Temple Mount. It's this road," Reich said.

Biblical Disney World

Like Disney World, people are flocking to the City of David.

"This is biblical Disney World that's actually real," Spielman said. "You can touch the stones. You can touch the texts. And you can [almost] see the people in front of you. [King] David walks with you through this tour," he said.

The number of visitors has grown exponentially, from 25,000 in 2000 to more than 350,000 in 2007.

And it's likely that more discoveries will draw more people as the pages of the Bible literally come alive.

"The voices in the City of David, we say, are the stones. If you sit and listen quietly with your Bible in your hand, you can hear 3,000 years of biblical history here," Spielman said.

*Original broadcast April 11, 2008.

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