DAY 13 – SATURDAY, JANUARY 26: GARDEN TOMB, ISRAEL MUSEUM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM
Today was our last day here in Jerusalem and the last full day of our trip together. The weather was the best yet, with full sun and highs in the upper 60s. We’ve had an incredible streak of superb weather!
Our first stop was the Garden Tomb. Located north of the Damascus Gate, this sites serves as an alternative site for the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. First we visited the grounds, seeing the proposed place of crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus. We also then enjoyed a time of worship and Communion together. It was very special.
Oscar Schindler’s Grave
Circling around to the southwest side of the Old City, we made a brief stop to see Oscar Schindler’s grave. It is located in a Catholic cemetery. He is credited for saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust. Some of us placed stones on his grave.
Driving to West Jerusalem, we spent about an hour and a half at the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things: A 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it looked in 70 AD. We connected the life and ministry of Jesus to many locations within the city. Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book. Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed here. Among the artifacts displayed art the two clay jars that were found in Cave 1 as well some of the scrolls themselves (e.g. the Temple Scroll, etc…). Finally, we walked through the archaeological wing of the museum, seeing the highlights. THis included the altar of Beersheba, the Dan Inscription, the Arad high place, Asherah figurines, the Moses’ Seat from Chorazin, the Pilate Inscription, the ossuary of Caiaphas, and the coffin of Herod the Great (among many more). On the way out we are amazed to see the 1,900 year old glass pie plate.
“Our last day of our trip was today. Yet it was filled with great experiences, as every day has been. The continual connections with the Bible is what made this trip life-changing! I can’t wait to read my Bible now in light of all that we have seen on this trip!” – Tour Member –
Before lunch, we drove about 8 miles southeast of Jerusalem to Herodium. This was another palace-fortress of Herod the Great. He actually was buried here. We climbed this artificial mountain. The views from the top were fair with the haze, but good enough to see Jerusalem to the north, Bethlehem to the west, Tekoa to the south, and the Judean Desert to the east. We exited the site by descending down through the cistern system.
After lunch in Beit Sahour, we visited the Shepherds’ Fields. Descending down into a cave, we talked about the role of the shepherd in biblical times. We read from Luke 2. We also remembered that “just at the right time God sent His Son…” (Gal. 4:4). We sang a few carols together both in the cave and then in the Chapel of the Shepherds. The acoustics were good!
Bethlehem Olive Wood Shop/Store
Our last stop of the day was to an olive wood shop and store in Bethlehem. We saw how the olive wood products are carved. We also shopped in the store above.
From here we drove home for our hotel. We had our farewell dinner together, followed by an optional walk.
DAY 14 – SUNDAY, JANUARY 27: ARRIVE BACK IN THE U.S.A.
We all are scheduled to fly home this morning.