Today I got to experience a Claustrophobes nightmare. A skinny 2,700 year old tunnel with running water that is about a half a mile long. For me this was no nightmare. I was stoked about this experience! From the first moment I stepped into this old tunnel, buried nearly waist deep in water, to the moment I exited, I could not contain myself.
This is how the tunnel looks. About three to four feet wide and 5 to 20 feet high at times. There is running water in the tunnel and its height ranges from 1 to 3 feet.
Here is another example of the tunnel. The fact that this Tunnel was built so long ago is absolutely mind blowing. 2 Kings 20:20 says, “As for the other events of Hezekiah’s reign, all his achievements and how he made the pool and the tunnel by which he brought water into the city, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?” So this tunnel that I walked through today, made during King Hezekiah’s reign, over 2,700 years old, is still there. I have seen many old Biblical things so far but nothing this old. As I went through the tunnel I touched the stones that were carved out by God’s people many many years ago. Not many experiences are as invigorating as this.
Not only is the Tunnel itself incredible but so is the story of its creation. The entire story is documented in 2 Chronicles 32. King Hezekiah was faced with a challenge. The Assyrians had come to take Jerusalem. King Hezekiah did not want them to have access to the springs just outside the City. 2 Chronicles 32:2-4 reads,
“He consulted with his officials and military staff about blocking off the water from the springs just outside the city, and they helped him. They gathered a large group of people who blocked all the springs and the stream that flowed through the land. ‘Why should the kings of Assyria come and find plenty of water?’ they said.”
King Hezekiah did not want an invading army to have free access to water right outside the walls of Jerusalem. So they blocked up the water source and dug this tunnel so they still had water. This is the story of Hezekiahs tunnel.
Now to conclude the story of the invading Assyrians I have to stress the underdog reality that we see throughout the Old Testament. Just like I have shown with David being the little guy, here King Hezekiah and God’s chosen people are the underdogs. The King of Assyria sends a messenger and belittles their God by saying, “Just as the gods of the peoples of the other lands did not rescue their people from my hand, so the god of Hezekiah will not rescue his people from my hand.”
Since King Hezekiah was a good King, the Lord was on his side and this is how the Lord responded in 2 Chronicles 32:20-21
“King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz cried out in prayer to heaven about this. And, the Lord sent an angel, who annihilated all the fighting men and the commanders and officers in the camp of the Assyrian king. So he withdrew to his own land in disgrace. And when he went into the temple of his god, some of his sons, his own flesh and blood, cut him down with the sword.”
God is faithful to his people. God is good and he never breaks his word. His promises are as sure as the rising of the sun in the morning.
P.S. Here is a picture of the awesome peeps here in Jerusalem with me.