It is far too often that I consider "putting pen to paper" when experiencing frustration with those running our beloved country. We all know how many of those opportunities knock on our doors. don't we?
However, as a veteran tour guide,. I am blessed with the opportunity to see lots of our land and its special people .I would like to share some encouraging observations from the field.
It gives me pleasure to acknowledge and spread the exciteent that is happening in the earliest biblical parts of our land. These days almost every Jewish tourist makes it down the hill to the "City of David". It is interesting that many non Jewish groups do not visit what is basically a wholly Jewish/Old Testament site in the heart of Jerusalem. The Evangelical and "Old Testament" connected sects however, are wild about the place. They can not get enough of the Bible coing up around their feet. I often wish that some of our own would feel as connected to our Biblical roots... but I wlll leave that for another time.
Yes, one of my favorite spots is indeed the "City of David" just down the hill from the Kotel Gate or Dung Gate. It is steep walking all the way down...and up, up , up.. but it is worth every kvetch!
My purpose is not to describe the details of a tour at this special site but to share some thoughts about the visit.
First of all, it is the only site in Israel which is an on going, intensive dig and yet hosts thousands of visitors daily. I am certain that when the feverish infrastructure developement is completed, this will be the number one site to visit in Israel - even for "the less Zionist" Christian sects. It will simply be too famous and popular to miss.
It is one of the few sites that every IDF soldier visits during the course of their service to the country. It is breath taking to see themroaming the ground where their ancestors stood and defended Jerusalem. Really, what is cooler than conjuring up the spirits of ancient Jewish warriors accompanying our current young men and women defenders.with and a gap of only three thousand years!
Ther are two big dramas developing in that place at the same time.One is the on going excavations all over the place. It seems that the archeologists simply can not announce an official end to "the dig" because of the treasures that keep popping out of the ancient soil. Names that we identify from the Book of Samuel and Kings have been found, Do you know how unique and ming blowing that is? The figures we know literally jump out of the ground where they lived and won their place in the Big Book. The scribe that saved Jeremiah from the pit and the pit it self was found! That ancient water cistern was probably the one that King Zedkiyahu had Jeremiah thrown into to perish, The court was not happy about the rebuke and warnings of this amazing man of God. I stood down in that pit and read the words of Jeremih, Does it get better!?
An entire parking lot disappeared in favor of more digging. To look down deep under that old parking lot and to watch the excavations is better then the original time machine movie.
I can go on about the site but perhaps another time.
I want to return to the second drama unfolding in tis ancient ground - this one way above the surface.
The first place i stop with my tourists is next to a wall with about ninety mail boxes. These serve the Jewish community of the "City of David". Imagine your address - the City of David"! Well lots of beautiful , brave Jews have proudly made it their home.
I remember when tis was not even a dream.
The story of how this began is a whopper but , not for now. I always say that there is a rule of thumb about touring in Isrtael - where Jews live, other Jews will feel free to visit. Think of how true this is. When I began guiding over thirty years ago, I would take visitors to this site... There was very little resembelence to what it is today. Then, I would quickly and quietly pass through a narrow, dirty alley in an all Arab neighborhood to steal a quick look at the famous "Canannite Wall" uncovered in the early nineteenth century by British archeologists. It is a very impressive wall with great stories from David on. And today? You would have to have been there then to understand the comparison and how excited I am.
The beauty and extent of the site does not compare to the pure "nachat" I get when I meet the beautiful Jewish children walking happily and confidently through their nighorhood as if it was just any other. These children are being raised in the city and spirit of the greatest Jews in our history
I am certain that they and hundreds of tousands like them in similiar redeemed Biblical areas will lead our country when the generation of ("We are tired of winning"- Ehud Olmert or "If I were an Arab , I too would be a terrorist" - Ehud Barak) failed "leaders" finally leave us. Yes, visit the city of David where the half cup that is filled - is simply brimming over into the past and future.
What a country!