DAY 8 – SUNDAY, MARCH 24: MT. OF OLIVES, GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, POOL OF BETHESDA, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM
Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. The weather was overcast, with a few hours of showers in the morning, but sunny towards mid afternoon. The temps were in the high 50s.
Mt. of Olives
Starting at 7:35, we drove around the north side of the Old City and crossed the Kidron Valley to get to the top of the Mt. of Olives. Here we enjoyed an amazing view of the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem. Walking down the pathway, we briefly stopped at Dominus Flavet, a small chapel with a closer view of the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44) and Temple Mount. We read from Luke 19 about Jesus humbly riding down the slopes of this hill as King. We also read from Zechariah 14 about Christ’s 2nd Coming when His feet will stand on this mountain. It will split into two and Jesus will once again be proclaimed as the King of kings! Further down the slope we also stopped briefly among olive trees in the general are where the Garden of Gethsemane was located. We read from Luke 22. It was here where Judas betrayed Jesus. We read about Jesus willingness and passion to accomplish God’s redemptive purpose for the world. He said, “Not my will but yours be done!”
Walking into the Old City through the Lion’s Gate (also called St. Stephen’s and Jericho gate), we saw the ancient Pools of Bethesda (John 6). Also on the same premises is St. Anne’s Church. We sang a few songs in this Crusader church. It has about an eight-second echo. We sounded like a heavenly choir!
“Jerusalem is Israel’s capital. Both through the ancient past as well as today, this city is filled with history. Today we retraced the steps of Jesus here. Considering Jesus was King on the Mt. of Olives was one highlight today.” -Tour Participant-
After eating lunch in the Christian Quarter, we walked out of the Jaffa Gate and met our buses. We drove to the Israel Museum. We first saw an amazing 1:50 replica/model of Jerusalem of what it looked like in 70 AD. We made many biblical connections with the activity and ministry of Jesus here. We highlighted Jesus’ ministry in this city. Next, we walked through the Shrine of the Book where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed. Finally, we walked through the archaeological wing of the museum, seeing the highlights (e.g. Dan & Pilate Inscription, Moses’ Seat, figurines, ossuaries, among many other things. We even saw what looks like a glass pie plate that dates 1,900 years old!
Our last stop of the day was to Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. We heard both Shlomo and Ori’s personal story before walking through the Children’s Memorial. 1.5 million were killed in the Holocaust. On our own we walked through the museum itself. This is a place that grips your heart with the reality of hate and murder that took place during WWII to 6 million Jews! We returned to our hotel in Jerusalem for dinner and another optional walk (this time to Ben Yehuda Street/Jaffa Road).