DAY 13 –SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 7
Today was a foggy day. Temps remained mild (65-70) but with reduced visibility. Leaving the hotel at 7:35, we drove to the Mt. of Olives. Although from the top we could not even see the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock (where both the 1st and 2nd Temples once stood), we walked down the narrow road, remembering the Palm Sunday event (Luke 19). Descending to the Dominus Flavet chapel (traditionally where Jesus wept over Jerusalem), we could begin to see the Temple Mount and part of the Old City. We read from Zechariah 14 about Christ’s return. We also talked about the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44). Walking further downhill, we spent a few reflective moments in the Garden of Gethsemane area (Luke 22).
From here we walked into the Old City through the Lion’s (or St. Stephen’s/Jericho) gate. Soon after entering the Old City, we stopped at the Pools of Bethesda. We read John 5 here. We also enjoyed the 8 second echo inside the St. Anne’s Crusader Church. The singing sounded amazing!
Close by the Via Dolorosa begins. We walked to the Holy Sepulcher Church. This is one suggested location where Christ’s crucifixion and burial took place. After visiting inside the church, we enjoyed lunch in the Christian Quarter before walking out the Jaffa Gate to meet the bus.
This afternoon we drove south to Herodium. This was the burial place of Herod the Great. We climbed this “artificial” mountain that overlooked Bethlehem to the west. We walked down through the complex cistern system before exiting the site.
Driving to Beit Sahour (a Christian Arab village east of Bethlehem), e enjoyed a time of reflecting upon the birth narrative of Christ. We read from Luke 2 and sang a few Christmas carols together, both outside overlooking the “Shepherds’ Fields” as well as in the beautiful Shepherd’s Chapel. Driving into Bethlehem, we ended the day at an olive wood store in Bethlehem.
On our way back to Jerusalem, we stopped briefly at Shlomo’s community. Continuing, we arrived at the Colony Restaurant for our “farewell dinner.” We enjoyed this “last supper” together.
Driving to the airport, we proceeded through check-in and passport control. We are presently awaiting our night flight (11:30 p.m. Israeli time, 4:30 p.m. EST) back to the States.
(No PICS UPLOADED AT THIS POINT)
DAY 14 –SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 8
We arrived back in the States (5 a.m.), went through customs, and made our connecting flights. The end of a marvelous trip!