Today we were on the bus at 7:00am, our earliest time yet. This meant that we were up at 5:45am. I’m sure most of you reading this aren’t feeling that bad about it, since I am in shortsleeves all day! I hope everyone within the path of the incoming storm is safe! Speaking of safe, Mark Brewer took a face plant yestrday while crossing the street, if you’re wondering what his fat lip and scarped nose are all about. He is fine, and given Tim and Laura’s tragedy, we all realize a few inconveniences are minor compared to losing your house in a fire! We’ll be praying from Israel for them!
Today we left on the bus and headed to the Dung Gate. Despite it’s rather disgusting sounding name, the Dung Gate is actually the main gate used to access the Western Wall and the Temple Mount. We waited for a few minutes in a line up, before passing over our bags for security check. From the security check point we moved up on to the Temple Mount. Our guide did some explaining, and then we had fifteen minutes or so to look around. We were all amazed by the intricacies of the design on the Dome of the Rock (which is not actually a mosque – but monument), and the size of the Temple Mount complex. After several pictures, which you can see here,
we left the Temple Mount near the Lion’s gate and entered the church of St. Anne which is near the pools of Bethesaida. Our group joined another group sining in the church, and then we sang ourselves. The church has amazing acoustics, and I don’t think there was a dry eye among us when we were finished. You can watch the video, which helps give you some idea what it was like!
We left St. Anne’s church, and wound our way through the Old City to Herod’s gate where we exited the Old City. From there we caught our bus and went to The Mount of Olives. I have included a picture of the Sight from the Mount of Olives, and if you scroll down to the end, you can even see the camel that was at the top of the Mount of Olives!
We are planning a camel ride later, but you can appreciate the size of this animal from the video! I hope Mrs. Bank’s Sunday School class enjoys this! We strolled down the Mount of Olives – a very steep climb – we even made a stop to the Dominus Flevit church. From there we walked all the way to the bottom of the hill, where Jesus would have walked many times, but particularly our minds were on his trip to Gethsemane. We entered the Garden of Gethsemane, too a quick peek into the Church of All Nations, and then it was back onto the bus and off to a shop to look at some olive wood carvings and Jewelry. By the way, your never far from olive wood carvings or Jewelry in Israel!
From the olive wood shop, we made our way to the Davidson’s Center, which is a complex detailing the excavations of the South Western corner of the wall of the ancient temple complex and retaining wall. By now, we are all beginning to get our bearings, figuring out who built what and which time period various things happened in. From the Davidson’s center we went to the Western Wall, where each of us silently prayed for God’s people not only here but around the world.
From the Western Wall we walked to the City of Zion ruins and looked down Warren’s Shaft and the Canaanite period tunnels that used to bring water to the residents of Jerusalem from the Gihon Spring. After observing the ruins, som decided to take the dry option and follow the Canaanite tunnel, while the rest of us donned our head-lamps and made our way through the knee deep water for some 530 meters, before emerging at the other end. We then talked about the Siloam pools, where the tunnel ends.
Once we dried off and changed from our tunnel excursion, we made our way to the church of St. Peter in Galicantu, the site of Jesus imprisonment and arrest, and the place of Peter’s denial of the Lord. Again we sang, prayed, read scripture and rejoiced at the opportunity to see all that we have seen!
As you can imagine, after a day with so much, we returned to our hotel exhausted. Some of us took a quick dip in the pool, showered and headed for supper at 6:30pm. We even went back out to see a new entertainment center that has opened just a stones throw from my hotel…and you’ll never guess who I met there!
Thankfully we don’t start until a little later tomorrow to give us time to sleep in and get some much needed time off our feet!! Enjoy the videos, and we’ll talk again tomorrow.
Shalom from Jerusalem!
Alice the Camel! (click for video)