Today was an all Jerusalem day!
We started off by going to the Temple Mount and spending the whole morning there. We had to go through security and a very long line to get in, but it was well worth it. They still have gates in the walls around old Jerusalem and the only one they let tourists go into the Temple Mount through is the Dung Gate. I got a good laugh out of that one and I wonder if maybe that was done on purpose:) Going into the main part of the Temple Mount the first thing you see is the Dome of the Rock. It is a beautiful building and is the gold dome you see in all the pictures of Jerusalem. The tile work on the outside is amazing. Unfortunately, because of all the problems through the years, they no longer let anyone except Arabs inside but it was beautiful even from the outside.
This next picture is of the Eastern Gate. This has special significance because this is the gate that the Bible says Jesus will come through when He comes back to reign in the New Jerusalem. It has been filled in for security reasons, but somehow I don’t think that will matter:)
Next we went through the Davidson Centre and some underground museums. The Israeli Antiquities Authority made a decision to excavate Old Jerusalem and also let people build on top. So all the museums are underground. Its actually a pretty cool system. Best of both worlds. We got to watch a multi-media presentation on the burning of Jerusalem by the Romans after the revolt. This picture is one of the mosaics found in a house. You can see the walls foundations. On top of us was a condo building:) Cool eh?
We found a pizza place so we stopped for an early lunch! I love Israel and all the people here, but if I never have to eat Shwarma again, I will be happy:) There’s just something in the spice on it that I really despise. But I don’t like Falafel either, so I’m kind of sunk at every lunch:)
A search again and we were off to the Western Wall or the Wailing Wall. This was actually the most moving experience of the day for me, which may be a surprise when you read about where we went last. I prayed for a few minutes while I waited for the chance to touch the wall and pray. As you can see it was very busy! I prayed for some special people, for the peace of Jerusalem and for the lady who did my pedicure before I left and who had asked me to pray at the wall for her:) So I did! I finally just reached over a really short lady:) and put my hand on the wall and prayed. Something about praying with my hand on the wall where so many people come to pray and touching the rocks that were actually part of the Temple at one point moved me to tears. I’m not Jewish, but it felt like a holy site to me too. Imagine me, a gentile, getting to touch the Temple and pray to God, who has saved me and accepted me. Just writing about it is moving me to tears again. I think it was my favourite part of the trip so far.
Around the corner are the original stairs that led up to the Temple. There are two different ages of stairs there, and some are from the time of Christ. Michael walked all the way up because it was special to him to walk the same stairs up to the Temple that Jesus walked. The stairs were purposefully made uneven so that you could not easily walk up them but you would have to take the time to walk slowly and enjoy the process up. Interesting fact of the day:)
Our last stop of the day was the Garden of Gethsemane. They know where it is because Gethsemane means olive oil press in Hebrew and Arabic. So it was a grove of Olive trees overlooking Jerusalem. First we went in a church built around a rock that is the traditional site of Jesus weeping. It was super dark in the church, so its hard to see, but it’s in this next picture.
These trees are called The Witness Trees because they are over two thousand years old! So they must have witnessed Jesus crying over Jerusalem and crying in the Garden before He was arrested. Amazing! The church allowed us to use the private garden for a service and time of prayer. What a special time to pray with my husband right in the Garden of Gethsemane.