Archaeologists uncovered a rare find during a building project in the Garden of Gethsemane! Now, there is evidence from Second Temple times which links the area back to Jesus’ day.

We know from Scripture that the garden is at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. According to the four gospels of the New Testament, it is here where he prayed on the night he was betrayed. It was also here that He underwent great agony and was arrested the night before His crucifixion.

The Custody of the Holy Land, which owns the site, started building a visitors’ center and tunnel linked the church grounds with the Kidron Valley across the street, CBN News reports.

As they uncovered the ancient ruins, the IAA stepped in to carry out a salvage excavation. This took place with the assistance of the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum before the building started. When they did this, they discovered a much older site.

“Suddenly in the middle of this underground passage the mountain collapsed and revealed [an] ancient and amazing find – the Jewish ritual bath known by the name, mikveh,” said Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) archaeologist, Amit Re’em.

Re’em also expressed the significance of the mikveh and its connection to the olives, CBN News reports.

“According to the Jewish law, when you are [making] wine or olive oil, you need to be purified. For the first time, we have archaeological evidence that something was here in the Second Temple period, the days of Jesus,” Re’em said.

Now, these findings will be incorporated into the new visitors’ center, according to CBN News.

“We hope to preserve the element, and we are excited to be able here in Gethsemane to find something that belonged to the time of Jesus,” Father Eugenio Alliata, a professor at the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum said.

During the dig, archaeologists also uncovered the remains of a 1500-year-old church!

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