Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Last Day Experiences

This has been a bonus day that was added after the trip was planned. We visited the Israeli Parliament Building. Interestingly Israel has no constitution and everything is decided by their Supreme Court Justices. Our guide tells us that people who live in Israel have to have an idological reason to live here because of the difficulties of conflicting cultures
and ideas.

We see Solomon's quarries from which the Temple building blocks were taken. Some of the blocks were 3 feet high, 15 feet long and several feet thick weighing over 10 tons each. The quarry looks like a huge cave but it was all hand carved out of the rocks. We also saw what is considered the Upper Room of the Last Supper and we sang hymns in the reverberating chamber.

We spend the rest of the afternoon roaming through the shops of the Old City of Jerusalem and trying to avoid being taken in by the shopkeepers. We succeeded for the most part.we enjoyed a great dinner with our touring mates before heading to the airport and starting our trip home.

Thank you for all who prayed for us. This has been a wonderful experience we pray we can share with you sometime. As they say at Passover- "Next year in Jerusalem."

Some of our Last Day

Solomon's Quarry

Old City Shopping

The Upper Room

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Last Toursday

Today (Tuesday) is the last day of visiting historic sites. We start at the Holocaust Museum--the first and largest in the world. It is terrifically moving in a terribly disturbing way. From there we travel outside Jerusalem to En Kerem the traditional site of the birth of John the Baptist. Then we travel to the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath. Thelma picked up smooth stones from the same dry brook where David got his.

We have lunch at a famous Israeli place--McDonald's. David has a McLafel. We return to Jerusalem and see the House of Caiaphas and the pit where Jesus was held before being put on trial there. The Roman Road next to the house is very certain to be the very stones Jesus was led over from the Garden of Gethsemane when He was arrested.

We end up the day visiting the Pater Noster Catholic church on the Mt. Of Olives where a tradition says that Jesus taught His disciples to pray the Model Prayer. The Mt. of Olives overlook (viewing the Kidron Valley and the eastern wall of the Temple and the Dome of the Rock) is nearby and we all have our pictures taken on camel rides.

It's hard to believe we're coming to the end of a life changing trip. Tomorrow we prepare to leave and will spend some time (and money) in the Old City shops.

Tuesday Pictures

Schindler's Memorial

Felafel at McDonald's

Valley of Elah

Road to Caiaphas' House

Thelma Having Fun!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Marvelous Monday

We started this day on the Temple Mound. Today the Muslim, solid gold plated Dome of the Rock stands where the Temple once stood. Just outside the northern Temple walls we saw the place of the expansive and deep Pool of Bethesda, although there is no water now present. From there we crossed to the east side of the Kidron Valley to the top of the Mt. of Olives where we walked the path of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. We stopped at the Garden of Gethsemane to pray where Jesus prayed, "Not my will but Thine be done." Back across the Kidron we visited the original, small City of David. We saw the nearby Gihon Springs which provided the ancient city with water and was the place were King Solomon's ascension to the throne of his father was announced. I sloshed through the wet 1800 feet of Hezekiah's Tunnel that was used to bring water into the ancient city.

After lunch we visited the Museum of Israel which contains such significant artifacts which corroborate the Biblical record. It was a thrill to see with my own eyes the only archeological find mentioning king David, the inscription from Caesarea which names Pontius Pilate as the Prefect of Judea, the Precipice Stone from the highest corner of the Temple, and the Isaiah Scroll of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

We finished the day at Gordon's Calvary on Golgotha at the height of Mt. Moriah and we worshiped at the Garden Tomb, the very likely place Jesus' body was placed for 3 days before conquering death with His Resurrection!
Jesus' Grave is Empty

Around Jerusalem

Muslim Dome of the Rock

Olive Tree in Gethsemane

Hezekiah's Tunnel


Entrance to Garden Tomb

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Jerusalem Wailing Wall and Bethlehem Birthplace

Today we started at the Temple in Jerusalem and walked the tunnel over Herod's road along the western wall. You would think that everything that could have been found about the Temple would have been discovered already but archeologists are continually excavating and finding more. After all the Temple has been subject to centuries of destruction, burial and excavation along with periods of re-construction.

We followed the traditional stations of the cross. Tradition has 14 events whereas Scripture only records less than half that number. There are two divergent opinions for the direction of the Via Dolorosa but there are several known exact spots of Jesus' walk.

Praying at the Wailing Wall was an emotional experience to ask for God's blessing at the place He had determined for His people to pray. Sitting on the very steps where Jesus would have taught at the Temple and where Peter preached the first Gospel sermon and to see where the 3000 were baptized was thrilling.

The last part of the day we visited Bethlehem which is under Palestinian Authority. It was great to see the shepherd's fields where the angel announced Jesus' birth. Still today the most ordinary people (the bedouins) are the shepherds. God came for all people. At the church of the Nativity we saw the stone manger in the cave where the local Christians have prayed since the days of Jesus, because they understood it to be His birthplace.

We have stepped back in time visiting these places but still we have been following the One who transcends all time and meets us where we are.

Buckeye Fans are everywhere