Oct. 20th - Jerusalem Day 2: The Old City

Trying to figure out how to write about today is fuzzy for me. There was so much about the day that was interwoven. We would walk on the street level of something, and then walk underneath the same spot, or along the same spot, yet learn something new with every step. At one place Gus pointed out that within a short distance there were buildings, uncovered ruins or a street and thousands of years of history was represented. It's hard for me to imagine living in such a place, but Gus calls it home, and he passionately loves it.

At the begining of the day we got off the bus at the Dung Gate and entered the old city, and spent the rest of the day on foot. 

Wailing Wall

 The northern-most end of the wailing wall, the western foundation wall of the Temple Mount where Jewish men and woman come to get close to the location of the temple and pray. Gus provided us with instruction about how to approach the wall. There is a section for both men and women, seperated by a low wall, to keep them from being a distraction to each other. As the men approach they need to have their head covered. We were allowed to use our ball caps, however they also had Yarmika for those who needed them. I want to share more about this site in a later post. The whole location is filled with deep emotion as we watched men and women practicing their faith.

The northern-most end of the wailing wall, the western foundation wall of the Temple Mount where Jewish men and woman come to get close to the location of the temple and pray. Gus provided us with instruction about how to approach the wall. There is a section for both men and women, seperated by a low wall, to keep them from being a distraction to each other. As the men approach they need to have their head covered. We were allowed to use our ball caps, however they also had Yarmika for those who needed them. I want to share more about this site in a later post. The whole location is filled with deep emotion as we watched men and women practicing their faith.

 Wilson's Arch

 At the northern end of the men's section of the Wailing Wall, there is an arched doorway that leads to a bookstore. The wall of the bookstore is actually a continuation of the western wall! The last arch in this picture, the darker one next to the green wall, is called Wilson's Arch. It is named after the man who found it. It is one of the paths that used to lead up to the Temple Mount in the days of the first century.  It is a unique and beautiful store. Because it is a continuation of the Wailing Wall you will see Jewish men pull chairs up to wall in order to sit and pray. Because it is in the men's section of the wall, women are not allowed in the bookstore.

At the northern end of the men's section of the Wailing Wall, there is an arched doorway that leads to a bookstore. The wall of the bookstore is actually a continuation of the western wall! The last arch in this picture, the darker one next to the green wall, is called Wilson's Arch. It is named after the man who found it. It is one of the paths that used to lead up to the Temple Mount in the days of the first century.  It is a unique and beautiful store. Because it is a continuation of the Wailing Wall you will see Jewish men pull chairs up to wall in order to sit and pray. Because it is in the men's section of the wall, women are not allowed in the bookstore.

 Western Wall Tunnel

 When everyone was done at the Wailing Wall, Gus led us down a stairwell to a tunnel that ran directly underneath the street we had been standing on, that ran alongside the length of the western wall. At one point the wall touched bedrock of Mt. Moriah! The average sized stone in the foundation is 2.5 tons, but the one in this picture is one solid piece. The two men in the picture are marking the length of the stone with their arms. It is 45 feet long, nearly 10 feet tall, with an estimated weight of 570 tons! During our walk in this tunnel we watched a video presentation on ancient methods of moving stones like this. There were several more cisterns along the way, until we reached the Wailing Wall Cistern at the North Western corner of the Temple Mount. We then took a flight of stairs back up to the street level.

When everyone was done at the Wailing Wall, Gus led us down a stairwell to a tunnel that ran directly underneath the street we had been standing on, that ran alongside the length of the western wall. At one point the wall touched bedrock of Mt. Moriah! The average sized stone in the foundation is 2.5 tons, but the one in this picture is one solid piece. The two men in the picture are marking the length of the stone with their arms. It is 45 feet long, nearly 10 feet tall, with an estimated weight of 570 tons! During our walk in this tunnel we watched a video presentation on ancient methods of moving stones like this. There were several more cisterns along the way, until we reached the Wailing Wall Cistern at the North Western corner of the Temple Mount. We then took a flight of stairs back up to the street level.

 Pool of Bethesda

 After exiting the tunnel, we took a brief walk further north to the pools of Bethesda. At the same site is The Church of Saint Anne, built by the Crusaders to commemorate the birth of Jesus' mother, Mary. It is dedicated to Mary's parents, Anne & Joachim. The Biblical significance of the site is the pool, where Jesus healed the man who had been lame for 38 years (John 5).

After exiting the tunnel, we took a brief walk further north to the pools of Bethesda. At the same site is The Church of Saint Anne, built by the Crusaders to commemorate the birth of Jesus' mother, Mary. It is dedicated to Mary's parents, Anne & Joachim. The Biblical significance of the site is the pool, where Jesus healed the man who had been lame for 38 years (John 5).

 Via Dolorosa

 Barry and Gus took us from Bethesda to visit the Church of the Sepulcher. We took a moment to talk about a couple of possible routes Jesus may have taken to reach Golgotha, then they led us through the old city along the Via Dolorosa (Latin for "Way of Grief", "Way of Tears" or "Way of Suffering") to get there. The Via Dolorosa a the traditional Catholic route to the Church of the Sepulcher that involves the 14 stations of the cross; events that Catholic tradition belives happened to Jesus during his walk outside of town to be crucified. Along the way we encountered several tour groups heading the same way. 

Barry and Gus took us from Bethesda to visit the Church of the Sepulcher. We took a moment to talk about a couple of possible routes Jesus may have taken to reach Golgotha, then they led us through the old city along the Via Dolorosa (Latin for "Way of Grief", "Way of Tears" or "Way of Suffering") to get there. The Via Dolorosa a the traditional Catholic route to the Church of the Sepulcher that involves the 14 stations of the cross; events that Catholic tradition belives happened to Jesus during his walk outside of town to be crucified. Along the way we encountered several tour groups heading the same way. 

 Church of the Sepulcher

 The Church of the Sepulcher is the traditional location of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. It is a large facility, maintained by 6 denominations. There is a place of exposed rock which is believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified, a rock where Jesus' body is thought to have been prepared, and then the tomb where his body was laid. This photo is of the line of people waiting to enter the structure to see the tomb underneath.

The Church of the Sepulcher is the traditional location of the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. It is a large facility, maintained by 6 denominations. There is a place of exposed rock which is believed to be the place where Jesus was crucified, a rock where Jesus' body is thought to have been prepared, and then the tomb where his body was laid. This photo is of the line of people waiting to enter the structure to see the tomb underneath.

Davidson Center at the Jerusalem Archaeological Park

 The Davidson Center had a great video presentation that provided a life-sized, computer generated model of Jerusalem and the temple mount. They also had a collection of coins that were found on the site. Towards the end of the museum, there was model of Jerusalem that showed the topography and layout of the city.

The Davidson Center had a great video presentation that provided a life-sized, computer generated model of Jerusalem and the temple mount. They also had a collection of coins that were found on the site. Towards the end of the museum, there was model of Jerusalem that showed the topography and layout of the city.

 Herodian Street at South West Corner of Temple Mount

 This picture is of the southern end of the western wall (the Wailing Wall is just beyond the blue roof). The street below is Herodian, the street Jesus would have walked on. The metal railing on the street surrounds the steps leading up from the Herodian drainage tunnel that we walked through yesterday.

This picture is of the southern end of the western wall (the Wailing Wall is just beyond the blue roof). The street below is Herodian, the street Jesus would have walked on. The metal railing on the street surrounds the steps leading up from the Herodian drainage tunnel that we walked through yesterday.

 Southern Steps of the Temple

 These steps are on the southeastern wall of the temple mount and were the main steps leading up to the temple of Jesus' day. They are the actual steps he would have used as he and his family visited the temple when he was younger (Lk. 2:21-41). They are also the steps he would have used when going to the temple to teach (Lk. 21:37-38). The hill in the background is the Mount of Olives.

These steps are on the southeastern wall of the temple mount and were the main steps leading up to the temple of Jesus' day. They are the actual steps he would have used as he and his family visited the temple when he was younger (Lk. 2:21-41). They are also the steps he would have used when going to the temple to teach (Lk. 21:37-38). The hill in the background is the Mount of Olives.

American Colony Hotel

 Horatio Spafford's Hymn, "It Is Well". 

Horatio Spafford's Hymn, "It Is Well". 

On our way back to the hotel for the night, Barry got on the microphone and said he had a treat for anyone who was interested. There is a hotel just five minutes walking distance from ours, that owns the original, hand-written copy of Horatio Spafford's powerful hymn, "It Is Well"! After dinner, about two-thirds of the group gathered together and walked around the corner to look at the display the hotel had about the Spaffords. They had newpaper clippings about the ship that capsized and took the lives of Spafford's daughters. They also had a great set of photographs of Horatio and his wife, Anna. Considering the personal loss and faith of the man who penned the well-known words of such a song was a tremendous way to end the day! As Gus likes to frequently remind us, "God is good, always!"

As always, please continue to keep us in your prayers. Only two more days and we'll be heading back to the airport at Tel Aviv to board a plane for the states. Lord willing, I will be able to write again tomorrow. 

Love,

Jeremy & Anna