I bent down and looked into the tunnel entrance. The group behind me was eager for me to start leading them through, but I couldn’t; I was way out of my comfort zone.
In the 8th century BC, King Hezekiah’s Jerusalem was under attack from the Assyrians. Fearing they would cut off his water supply the King had two teams of engineers working from opposite ends to divert the water from the Gihon spring, which sat outside the city walls, underground along a 553 meter tunnel through solid rock to what became the pool of Siloam within the city (see 2 Kings 20:20). This area is now called Silwan, the ancient city of David. It is the original Jerusalem, which actually sits on a bluff south of the present day old city. A group of 8 of us from our larger church team had ducked out of our Jerusalem conference morning meetings to take in some extra sites, including the city of David.
They expected me to lead them, but I too was nervous. I could see enough to know this water conduit was challenging. The roof was so low at the start that we had to bend over even to enter, and I could see further along it was so narrow that we would have to turn sideways just to pass along. Who knew what other obstacles we might face? And we would be walking along the channel up to our knees in water. The thought of it overwhelmed me. We had been given tiny lights as part of our entrance fee, but they were miniature devices about the size of a 50p coin. In the bright sunlight it was almost impossible so see that they even worked.
Then Rod stepped forwards. “I’ll go first Paul” he said – and he did; “you follow me” - and I did. And then everyone else followed me. I felt confident because I was confident that Rod knew what he was doing. He'd been a tunneller most of his life; working deep inside mountains on a crew that cut tunnels all over the western US for new roads and rail tracks. I was reminded of what Jesus said to his disciples when he called them to leave the security of their familiar occupations, “follow me”: And what the angel said when he freed Peter from prison, “follow me”: And when Ehud the judge called Israel to go with him to defeat the Moabites, “follow me”: And as Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “follow me as I follow Christ”. Do you get the point? Always follow someone who knows how to navigate through the challenges life presents you with, better than you do. When you are following someone you trust, like Jesus (or Rod) you can feel safe even in unfamiliar territory. I’ve been there, I know.
But I also learned another important spiritual lesson on our 20 minute hike through Hezekiah’s tunnel.
As soon as we passed in single file beyond where the entrance cast any light, our 8 miniature ‘torches’ together did an incredibly good job of lighting the way through total darkness. Half way through we stopped and all agreed to switch off our lights. Total darkness enveloped us all - and some of us were not a little nervous. We literally could not see a hand in front of our face. But when one person switched on their tiny light the darkness immediately receded. Darkness never wins, against even the tiniest light. Light always dispels darkness.
John 1:4&5 “…His life brought light to everyone. The light (of Jesus) shines in the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.” NLT
Keep shining your light. It’s never too puny; trust me.
"Darkness never wins, against even the tiniest light. Light always dispels darkness.".
Paul and Angelita Ogle are part of the Belfrey Groups Steering Team. They also lead the Belfrey Group 'Germinators'.