The City of David is claimed to be the oldest settled neighborhood of Jerusalem and it is a major archaeological site that is quite active today. The site however is controversial and there are disputes among scholars as to its status as a powerful biblical state. The area consists of a narrow ridge that runs south from the Temple Mount. It was a walled city in the Bronze Age and, according to tradition, it is the place where King David built his palace and established his capital. The archeological exploration of the City of David began in the middle of the 19th century and continues to this day.
Surprisingly, I found this site to be very moving. I don’t know how large David’s empire really was, or if David even actually existed, or was maybe just a mythical figure. A lot of people have a lot of ideas about it, but at the end of the day we still have no real evidence of the existence of the City of David. I don’t find the uncertainty to be disturbing…although some people are pretty passionate about it. The kingdom of David goes back twelve thousand years. Think about it – that is a fantastically long time ago. What is important though is that the story is a part of our faith journey…it was one step, taken a long time ago, toward where we are today. We read the story in the bible and it stirs our imagination. It describes for us how God was involved with humans then, which helps us to understand how God is involved with us today. It links us to our past and gives us an anchor amidst all of our present uncertainties.
Our tour guide seemed pretty convinced as to the existence of the City of David. What I found compelling was not so much the argument he presented, but rather his humble faith. I don’t remember the words he used nearly so well as I remember how he presented his thoughts. He did not insist that things went down exactly as reported in the bible – he just presented the evidence that has been found so far and let his faith take over from there. His faith is in God and in God’s relationship with humans. He believes that God was in relationship with David, but he has faith that God is in relationship with us all. I remember early on one of our professors saying to us that not everything that happened is true and not everything that is true happened. For me, that is what this faith journey is about. It is not about trying to pin things down and label and categorize them so that we feel as though we have a handle on our faith. It is about letting go of those things and accepting that we are not running the show here. We cannot make the unpredictable predictable, and to attempt to do so means that we are trading our dynamic faith for static beliefs. As fascinating as the archaeological ruins were, what I took away from the City of David was a richer sense of my own faith. I received this sense not through words that were spoken, or things that were seen and/or touched – but through recognition.
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|The City of David|