During our tour in Israel, we were given the opportunity to walk through Hezekiah’s tunnel in the city of Jerusalem. Around 700 BC, the city of Jerusalem was threatened by the powerful Assyrian army. The Assyrians were one of the most powerful nations in the Middle East at that time. Their empire was centered where Iran and Iraq are today. Their capital was the city of Nineveh.
The Assyrians had already defeated the northern half of Israel and were poised to attack the southern area called Judah. Jerusalem was the capital of the southern kingdom. A large wall protected the city. A common military tactic in those days was to besiege a walled city until it ran out of food and water forcing the inhabitants to surrender.
King Hezekiah knew that a reliable source of water would be essential to withstand a long siege by the Assyrians. He directed his engineers and workers to dig a long tunnel from a spring outside the city to provide the water that would be needed to survive behind the city walls. It was a remarkable engineering feat to create this tunnel with just hammer and chisel.
The source of the water and the entrance to the tunnel outside the city walls was concealed so effectively that the enemy never found it. In fact, the source of the water was only discovered in the 1800’s! The tunnel had to be designed with a slight slope so that the water would run down hill and deep under the walls to bring water to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Water still flows in this tunnel today!
Tourists are allowed to walk through this tunnel beneath the city of Jerusalem. The water level is only one to two feet deep. The tunnel is only about the width of one person and barely high enough to stand upright. And, the tunnel is very dark. In fact, you can’t see the person walking in front of you. You can hear them, but you can’t see anything.
Thankfully, they sell small, inexpensive flashlights at the gift shop near the tunnel entrance. I usually don’t purchase trinkets and small souvenirs when we travel, but I was glad I spent $2 to by a flashlight. It was the best two dollars I have ever spent!
My friend and I were the last two people in our group to enter the water tunnel. We were glad we wore water shoes as we started to walk down the dark tunnel. We were delayed a bit as we put our shoes on and quickly fell behind our group. We could hear them ahead of us, but we couldn’t see them at all. The narrow tunnel twisted and turned in the darkness. The bottom and sides were rough.
I quickly learned that my friend had not purchased a flashlight. I had the only one. It was pitch black, but my little two-dollar flashlight really helped us navigate our 30 minute walk through the tunnel. It was amazing how one little light illuminated our path. I don’t know how we would have made it if we didn’t have that one little flashlight.
Jesus told his followers that they are “lights in this world” and that they were to “let their light shine” so that people would see their good works and be drawn to follow Jesus, too (Matthew 5:16). When you and I help others and serve those around us, we are like a small light in a dark world. Radom acts of kindness and thoughtful, encouraging words can brighten someone’s day and make their lives better.
We don’t need to be “in the spot light” and draw attention to ourselves. We are called to bring a little light into the lives of those around us. A little light goes a long way. Let me encourage you to look for ways to encourage and help people around you. Even a $2 flashlight can make a big difference in a dark place. You will be glad you did and they will too!
Pastor Mark Hopper
Efree Church of Diamond Bar
3255 South Diamond Bar Blvd
Sunday Services: 9:00 & 10:45 AM