The Fountain Gate was repaired by Shallum son of Col-hozeh, the leader of the Mizpah district. He rebuilt it, roofed it, set up its doors, and installed its bolts and bars. Then he repaired the wall of the pool of Siloam near the king’s garden, and he rebuilt the wall as far as the stairs that descend from the City of David. Next to him was Nehemiah son of Azbuk, the leader of half the district of Beth-zur. He rebuilt the wall from a place across from the tombs of David’s family as far as the water reservoir and the House of the Warriors.
Nehemiah 3:15-16 NLT
Last time we talked about the leader who built the Dung Gate, leaving power and beauty to serve – just like our Savior. Now we move on to the rebuilding of the Fountain Gate and a large section of the wall:
You can see the Fountain Gate on the left side of our map. The other three landmarks from today’s verses (Tombs of David, Artificial Pool, and the House of Mighty Men) are noted with numbers 2, 3 & 4 in the red circles.
The first thing Shallum did was set the Gate. Then, almost in reverse order, he takes care of the Pool of Siloam (called Shelah on our map) and the King’s Garden. These are off to the right of our Dung Gate, and are surrounded by their own segment of wall. Then Shallum returns to where he began and builds the section of wall between the Dung Gate and Fountain Gate, right up to the Stairs of David – seen coming out of the Fountain Gate on our map.
I appreciate the Hebrew in the mentioning of these stairs. The word is ma’alah meaning stairs, a high degree, climactic progression. In other words, this same Hebrew term could be used in a piece of literature that builds to a high degree. It made me think of the Psalms of Ascent. These songs (Psalms 120-134) were sung by the Israelites as they traveled back to Jerusalem for three important Feasts each year. Many believe it also refers to songs the Levites sang as they ascended the steps of Temple to minister. Either way, the significance is in the journey – a progression toward the heights.
That’s a journey we’re all on. This world is not all there is. Depending on the news each day, that can come as such a relief. We can all find areas to disagree on how to make this planet better, but if we’re honest, we all know it isn’t as it was meant to be. Those of us who believe Jesus both understand why and know we’re headed Home.
There’s more beauty in Hebrew. In explaining the stairs, he says “the steps that descend from the City of David.” That word descend is yarad – to go down, bring down. Then in verse 16 we see a different Nehemiah building the wall from… as far as…the House of the Warriors. That word warrior in Hebrew is gibbor – champion, mighty, strong, valiant warrior.
Oh friends, only One Mighty Warrior descended from the heights – higher than even our known universe – and made the ultimate heroic sacrifice. Strong enough not to fight, valiant enough to take it on the chin for all humanity. For us.
Every time we remember there is an enemy and it’s not each other, we look like our Warrior Savior. When we serve and pray more than shame, blame and scapegoat, we’re being just as valiant as Him. When we own up to our sins and rest in the way He completely justified us on the cross, we’re trusting our Father the way He does.
Let’s bow each day and trust the Spirit to bring such heights to our lives.