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Around Jerusalem

Days Seven and Eight

Sunday was a day to do as we pleased around the old city, so I won't post much about it. Most of what we did then we did more in-depth today. I will mention a couple of sweet things really quickly.
First, our group started the morning by worshipping together at the little chapel at the fifth station. It was good to worship our Lord with this group. Following that, we went to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I'll include more about this as I write about today. Finally, we had the day to ourselves. A group of us went and walked the city walls, had a very expensive, but delicious lunch, and wandered around the Jewish quarter, and finally, on our way back we walked through the Valley of Gehenna, which was pretty interesting.

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Views from the Old City Wall. Dated from the 1500s.

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Walking through the Valley of Gehenna.

Today started early. First, we went to the Temple Mount. That was a very overwhelming experience. It felt fairly peaceful on the top of it, but there was a lot of security. It is amazing - they think that this was also where Abraham brought Isaac to sacrifice him. Muslims believe it was Ishmael.

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Dome of the Rock, which I learned is not a Mosque but a Moselium or memorial to someone, whose name I cannot remember.

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The Golden Gate, where Jesus would enter the city. Jewish tradition also says the Messiah will come through this gate. It is currently a mosque. It had been closed until the last week when they decided to reopen it. The tension at this place was palpable.

From the Temple Mount, we made our way to the St. Anne's Church, where it is believed Mary was born. We also saw the pools of Bethesda (John 5).

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A mosaic in the traditional birthplace of Mary.

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The pools of Bethesda.

After this, we started the Via Delarosa. It was a pretty whirlwind tour but definitely interesting. For me being both modern in mindset and a child of the Reformation it is hard for me to judge what is fact and what is legend. That is not to say the two can't be one and the same. It was still neat to know that where we walked was probably similar to Christ's journey to the cross.

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An archway where Pilate may have stood to offer to exchange Christ for Barabus.

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The edge of the old city walls from Christ's time. The location of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher would have sat outside the walls.

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Stamps of Pilgrims from many years ago in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.

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The Holy Sepulcher and looking up.

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A tomb from the time of Christ.

After the Holy Sepulcher and lunch, we headed to the Jewish Quarter. It was interesting to pass through this area again. We had already seen it the day before. We also stopped at the Western or Wailing Wall.

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Western Wall

Next, we walked to the Garden of Gethsemane. I think this has been the highlight of the trip so far for me. I'm not sure why but the unsettled stillness of Gethsemane in the Biblical accounts, the will of man and God in Christ thrashing up against each other resonates so deeply with me. We were given about 20 minutes to pray and so I prayed about my life, some things that have been going on, and most specifically that God's will would be done in it. Our tour guide arranged for us to be allowed into the fenced off area. I felt very rich to be able to do that.

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Tombs on the way to the Garden of Gethsemane. While I believe the larger ones came after the time of Christ - he would have walked along this pathway beside a graveyard, knowing what his fate would soon be.

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A two-thousand-year-old olive tree.

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The Garden.

We ended our day by going to the top of Mount Olives. There Christ ascended into Heaven and started his Triumphant entry into Jerusalem. There is also a church celebrating the Lord's Prayer.

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The very top of Mount Olives

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Pater Noster

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Entering

Alright, my friends, I am tired and it is time to do something else and soon eat delicious Israeli food.

Correction: I couldn't remember which station we worshiped at - it was the Fifth Station, not the Seventh.

Posted by revbeard 06:45 Archived in Israel

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