Creepy Tunnel Syndrome
Hezekiah’s Tunnel is an ancient waterway connecting a valley spring outside of the walls of Jerusalem to the Pool of Siloam inside the walls.
Back in 1981, Hezekiah’s Tunnel in Jerusalem was very primitive, and it was not the tourist site it is now. There was one security guard sitting on a folding chair and reading an Arabic language newspaper. At first, I thought I saw movement from the guard, but he just sat there on a folding chair next to the tunnel entrance. In 1981, things in that area seemed more tranquil than they do now.
Nowadays, I would have prepared by getting dressed like I was going fly-fishing in Wyoming, with those rubber pants that go from your toes to your armpits. But this is now, and that was then. Being foolhardy like every twenty-year-old, I was ready, wearing shorts and sandals. We also had no protection against critters.
The guard warned us that we needed flashlights, which Todd and I didn’t have. Our solution was to go into the church in the nearby garden of Gethsemane and steal a couple of votive candles—the little ones with the paper around the top so the wax doesn’t burn your hand.
As we ventured into the tunnel, the water was only ankle deep at first, but the tunnel was not level, and the water level fluctuated, reaching a high level at just above our knees. (Today, I wonder what creatures were in that water.)
When there was a slight draft, our candles went out, leaving us in the pitch-black and knee-deep in dirty water. Naturally, we pressed forward in the dark, reasoning that we had come too far to turn back. What idiots. We accomplished this by putting one hand on each side of the tunnel and then just creeping forward, inch by inch.
Eventually, we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, went toward the light, and came out of the tunnel, soaking wet, in the middle of the Pool of Siloam. A group of French tourists was next to the pool with their guide, who was carrying her “Follow Me” umbrella. We just walked past them, as they were all rendered speechless.
Although it seemed like hours, we had been in the tunnel no more than fifteen minutes. One day I’ll share this story as an illustration of the wisdom of being prepared. But for now, it is the best example I have to show the importance of having the teachings of the Bible at the ready, as they are the lamp unto our feet.