May 2018 Extensive Israel Tour Summary – Day 10

DAY 10 –MONDAY, MAY 14: JERUSALEM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

(Theme of the Day: Jesus and His redemptive plan) 

Today is an historic day here in Jerusalem. It is special to be here the day that the US Embassy officially moves to Jerusalem. It would be another sunny day, with highs in the 70s.

Mt. of Olives

Jerusalem

Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

Leaving the hotel around 7:30, we drove around the Old City to the Mt. of Olives. Here we enjoyed a panoramic view of the City of David (to the south), the Temple Mount, and entire Old City below. We read from Luke 19 (Palm Sunday), and Zechariah 14 (Christ’s Second Coming). We celebrated Christ as King!

Garden of Gethsemane

We walked down this western slope of the Mt. of Olives to an area designated as the Garden of Gethsemane. In full view of the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44), we pondered the words of Jesus, “not my will but yours be done…” from Luke 22. These were words that displayed Jesus’ willingness to endure the cross. 

Old City: Pools of Bethesda & St. Anne’s Church, and Holy Sepulcher Church

Bethesda Pool

The Pool of Bethesda

Walking down to the Kidron Valley and then back up to the St. Stephen’s (also called Lion’s and Jericho Gate), we entered the Old City. Our first stop was the St. Anne’s Church. It was a Crusader Church with wonderful acoustics (an 8 second echo). We sang a few songs, with Ruth sharing a special song as well. On the same grounds are the archaeological ruins of the Pools of Bethesda. This is where the paralyzed man was healed by Jesus (John 5). Built over these ruins were Late Roman and Crusader churches. 

Walking the Via Dolorosa (the “way of the cross,” even though Jesus carried the cross from the opposite direction), we arrived at the Holy Sepulcher Church. It was built in the 4th century AD. This location serves as one of two suggested sites for the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. Inside the Edicule is the suggested actual tomb of Jesus. Close by in the Christian Quarter we ate lunch.

Herodium

Herodium

Herodium

Walking out of the Jaffa Gate, we met our bus and drove to Herodium. This is an archaeological site excavated for over 35 years. It was a palace-fortress of Herod the Great. While this Judean king died in Jericho in 4 BC, he was buried here. We climbed to the top of the site where we had a wonderful view of the area. To the north we could see Jerusalem; to the east the Judean Desert and the Dead Sea; to the south the village of Tekoa; and to the west Bethlehem. Among the ruins we saw were the towers, the synagogue, the bathhouse, and the cistern system. 

Shepherds’ Fields

Driving to Beat Sahour, we visited the Shepherds’ Fields. Gathering in a cave, we considered the role of the shepherd in biblical days. We read from Micah 5 and Luke 2 about the birth narrative of Jesus. Also before leaving we enjoyed singing a few carols in the Chapel of the Shepherds. We sounded angelic!

Bethlehem

Shepherds

Shepherd and angel relief (chapel of the Shepherds)

We ended the day in Bethlehem at an olive wood shop and store. The store is owned by Palestinian Christians. Bethlehem is known for its olive wood carvings. We enjoyed some shopping here.

We returned back to tour hotel. We passed close to where the new Embassy is now located.  Following dinner, we went to Ben Yehuda Street for a little taste of modern Israeli culture, shopping, and ice cream. We walked back to the hotel.

DAY 11 – TUESDAY, MAY 15: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER & SHORASHIM, CHURCH OF ST. PETER GALLICANTU, YAD VASHEM

(Theme of the day: Facing the “walls” of life)

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February 2018 Israel Tour Summary/Update – Day 7

DAY 7 – THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 15: MT. OF OLIVES, POOL OF BETHESDA, OLD CITY, ISRAEL MUSEUM, BETHLEHEM

Today was our first day in Jerusalem. We were greeted with sun and cooler temps. But we would later enjoy a perfect day with highs in the low 60s.

Mt. of Olives

Mt. of Olives

Standing on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem

Leaving the hotel shortly after 7:30, we drove around the western and northern side of the Old City to the Mt. of Olives. This is the mountain range east of the Old City and Temple Mount. The Kidron Valley separates the mountain with the Temple Mount. The view from here was fantastic!

Dominus Flavet & Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

From the top we walked down the steep pathway down the western slope of the Mt. of Olives. We made a brief stop at the Dominus Flavet chapel. Here were read from Luke 19 about Jesus’ Palm Sunday entrance into Jerusalem as well as how we wept over this city. Seeing the Eastern/Mercy Gate, we also read from Ezekiel 44 about how one day this gate will be opened. We also recalled the words from Zechariah 14 about the Mt. of Olives splitting into two when Christ returns, with water flowing to the Dead Sea.

A little further down the slope of the Mt. of Olives is the Garden of Gethsamane. From a private garden arranged by a Franciscan Brother Diego read from Luke 22 about Jesus’ prayer – “not my will but yours be done” – and later betrayal here by Judas. We took some time for reflection and journaling. It was a special time!

Old City – Pool of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa, Holy Sepulcher Church

Edicule Holy Sepulcher

The “edicule” of the Holy Sepulcher church. This covers the traditional tomb of Christ.

Walking into the Old City through the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called Lion’s & Jericho Gate), we stopped at the Pool of Bethesda and St. Anne’s Church. We read from John 5 about the healing of the paralytic here. We also enjoyed singing in this Crusader church. We sounded heavenly with the 8 second echo. Walking the Via Dolorosa (the way of the cross), we entered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is one of two locations for the death and burial/resurrection of Jesus. We ate lunch in the Christian Quarter (pizza!)

Israel Museum

1:50 scale model of Jerusalem

The 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem

Walking out of the Jaffa Gate, we drove to the Israel Museum. Here we saw three things: 1). 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it looked like in 70 AD prior to its destruction. It was helpful to “connect the dots” between the ministry of Jesus and the different locations around the city where Jesus served. 2). The Shrine of the Book. Here we saw a few samples of the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran. 3). The highlights in the archaeological wing of the museum. We saw many special artifacts connecting us to the Bible (e.g. the Dan & Pilate Inscriptions, Herod’s coffin, ossuaries, the Moses’ Seat, etc…)

Bethlehem – Shepherds’ Fields & Olive Wood Store

Pilate inscription

The Pilate Inscription

Our last two stops of the day were south of Jerusalem. First, we walked into a cave at the Shepherds’ Fields. Located actually in Beit Sahour, we enjoyed a time of considering the role of the shepherds in the birth narrative of Jesus. We read from Luke 2 and considered that it was “just at the right time that God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4).” We also sang a few carols both in the cave as well as in the Shepherds’ Chapel. We ended the day by stopping briefly at an olive wood store in Bethlehem.

Driving back to the hotel, we enjoyed dinner together, followed by an optional walk to Ben Yehuda street for some coffee shops and shopping.

DAY 8 – FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 16: SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, A FEW FREE HOURS, GARDEN TOMB

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Day 11 Trip Summary – January 2018 14 Day Israel Tour

DAY 11 –WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24: JERUSALEM, HERODIUM, BETHLEHEM

Today was our first full day here in Jerusalem! It would be a colder day, with highs in the upper 40s/low 50s, but we didn’t get the rain that was forecasted. What a blessing!

Mt. of Olives

Mt. of Olives

Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

Leaving the hotel at about 7:30, we read from Psalm 122 and 125. Driving around the northern side of the Old City, we made it to the top of the Mt. of OlivesWhat a view of the Temple Mount and Old City from here! Walking down the slope of the Mt. of Olives, we stopped briefly at Dominos Flavet, a chapel traditionally connected to Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. We read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14.

Garden of Gethsemane

Walking all the way down the Mt. of Olives brought us to an area known as the Garden of Gethsemane. While we can’t specifically pinpoint where this was other than on the western slope of the mountain, this is where Jesus displayed His passion (“Not my will but yours be done“) and was betrayed by Judas. We read from Luke 22 and considered the passion and obedience of Christ even unto death.

Old City – Eastern Gate, Pools of Bethesda, Holy Sepulcher Church

Eastern Gate Jerusalem

Eastern Gate Jerusalem

Next, we walked to the base of the Eastern Gate. It is a massive gate that was closed in 810 AD. Ezekiel 44 mentions that when the Messiah comes, it will be opened. From here we entered the Old City through the St. Stephen’s (or Lion’s) Gate. Our first stop inside the Old City was the Pools of Bethesda. We read from John 5 here. Close by is the start of the Via Dolorosa. We walked to the Church of the Holy SepulcherThis is one of two locations for the crucifixion and burial of Jesus. We had lunch here in the Christian Quarter.

Herodium

Walking out of the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, we drove southeast about 12 miles to HerodiumThis was where Herod the Great was buried (he reigned from 37-4 BC). We climbed this “artificial mound” to the top. While the view wasn’t great to the east, we could see back to Jerusalem from here to the north, the Judean Desert to the east, Tekoa to the south, and Bethlehem to the west. We walked down through the elaborate cistern system here.

Shepherds’ Fields / Bethlehem

Herodium

Herodium – a palace-fortress of Herod the Great

Driving to the Shepherds’ Fields (in Beit Sahour), we enjoyed descending down into a cave. Here we considered Jesus being born perhaps in a cave like this. We read from Micah 2, 5, and Luke 2. We also sang a few Christmas carols. Before leaving the site, we entered the small chapel and enjoyed the acoustics there too! We sounded like heavenly angels! We ended the day by driving into Bethlehem to an olive wood shop and store.

We returned to the hotel for dinner and a free night.

DAY 12 – THURSDAY, JANUARY 25: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

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September 2017 Israel Tour – Day 8

DAY 8 – SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10:

Today would be another sunny day, with highs in the 90s (a bit above normal for Jerusalem this time of year). Pulling out of the hotel once again shortly after 7:30, we drove to the excavations of the City of David.

City of David

The City of David

The City of David was previously called Jebus. According to the Bible, David conquered the city (2 Sam. 5). We saw many of the ruins here (walls towers, David’s fortress) dating to biblical times. Walking through Warren’s Shaft we came to the water source of there city, the Gihon Spring. Here is also where some in the group entered Hezekiah’s Tunnel, a 1,720 foot water tunnel carved out of the bedrock. Some in the group walked through the earlier “dry” Canaanite tunnel. Both groups converged at the Siloam Pool where we heard John 9 read in dramatic fashion. Here we celebrated that Jesus continues to open our eyes and hearts, allowing us to see Him.

From here some in the group walked up the Herodian drainage channel up to the south wall excavations of Herod’s Temple, while others took the bus up to this area. Meeting at the SW corner of the Temple, we stood amazed at the remarkable building project of Herod’s temple. Even the disciples made this comment (Mark 13:1-2). Finally, we walked to the southern steps of the Temple, the primary way for commoners to enter the Temple in Jesus’ day. We remembered the stories of many who would have used there steps (Jesus, disciples, Simeon, Peter, Paul, and the apostles, etc…). Before leaving this area, we also entered the Western Wall area.

HEzekiah's tunnel

Hezekiah’s Tunnel

This afternoon we drove south to the area of Bethlehem. First, we enjoyed lunch outside the Shepherds’ Fields before descending down into a cave. Here we considered the role of the shepherds in Jesus’ day and the amazement of God’s redemptive plan! It was “just at the right time that God sent His Son. (Gal. 4:4).” We enjoyed singing a few Christmas carols in the cave as well as in the small chapel.

Further east is Herodium. This was where Herod the Great was buried. The view from the top of this “palace-fortress” was good. We could see Jerusalem to the north, the Dead Sea and Judea Desert to the east, and Bethlehem to the west. We left the site by descending down through the cistern system. We also saw where Herod was buried.

Herodium

Herodium

Our last stop of the day was an olive wood factory and store in Bethlehem. We joined not only seeing how the olive wood items are made, but also some shopping here.

We drove back to the hotel for our farewell dinner. Nearly half in the group are flying home tonight back to the States. Shlomo and David drove these folks to the Ben Gurion Airport for their night-flight home. The other half of the group will enjoy a four more days here in Israel.

DAY 9 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11: ARRIVAL BACK IN THE U.S.A OR BEGINNING OF THE OPTIONAL EXTENSION – SHILOH AND HIKE IN WADI QELT/JUDEAN DESERT

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June 2017 Israel Tour – Day 10 Summary

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, JUNE 21:

Jerusalem

Overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem

Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. The weather was sunny but with much cooler temps, with highs around 80. Leaving our hotel around 7:30 again, we drove to the Mt. of Olives. We drove around the western and northern parts of the Old City, and across the Kidron Valley to Gert there. The view from the top was spectacular, providing us a panoramic view of the City of David (to the south), the Old City, and the Temple Mount. Walking down to Palm Sunday path to Dominus Flevit (“the Lord weeps”), we read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14 about Jesus’ kingship and 2nd Coming. Further down the slope we enjoyed a reflective time in the Garden of Gethsemane in a private garden. We read from Luke 22 and considered the passion of Jesus. Brother Diego warmly greeted us.

Walking into the Old City through the Lion’s Gate (also called St. Stephen’s and Jericho Gate), we visited the Pool of Bethesda (John 5). On the same grounds is St. Anne’s Church. We enjoyed singing in this Crusader church that has an eight second echo. We sounded like a grand choir!

Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane

Walking through the Old City we arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is the traditional location for both the crucifixion and burial of Christ. Going inside we saw a classic “2nd Temple” (New Testament era) niche tomb.

After lunch in the Christian Quarter, we walked out of the Old City through Jaffa Gate where our bus picked us up. We drove about 8 miles southeast to Herodium. This was another of Herod the Great’s “palace-fortresses.” This was also where Herod was buried. We climbed this “artificial” mound and saw the ruins. The view in all directions was very good as well. We could even see the Dead Sea from here. Descending through the cistern system, we saw some frescos as well as the place of Herod’s grave.

Herodium

Herodium

Close by are the Shepherds’ Fields. Descending into a cave, we considered God’s redemptive plan in that “just at the right time God sent His Son (Galatians 4:4).” We sang some Christmas carols both in the cave as well as in the small chapel. The gals who sang sounded angelic!

We ended the day by visiting an olive wood factory and store owned by Arab Christians. Bethlehem is known for the production of olive wood products.

We drove back to our hotel for dinner. An optional walk to Ben Yehuda for a taste of more modern Israeli life followed.

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, JUNE 22: OLD CITY, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

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April-May 2017 Israel-Egypt Tour Update: Day 9

DAY 9 – TUESDAY, MAY 2:

Today we left around 7:30 a.m. once again after another great breakfast. The day would be gorgeous, with lots of sun, a few clouds, and temps around 80 again.

Mt. of Olives

Standing on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem

Leaving the hotel, we read from Psalm 125 (“As the mountains surround Jerusalem”), we drove around part of the Old City to the top of the Mt. of Olives. Here we enjoyed a breath-taking view of the Temple Mount and Old City below. This included being able to see the City of David (OT Jerusalem), Mt. Zion, and Mt. Moriah (both Solomon built the 1st Temple, 2 Chronicles 3). Today the Dome of the Rock (691-2 AD) stands on the Temple Mount. We read from Luke 19 (about Jesus’ Palm Sunday entrance and His weeping over Jerusalem), and Zechariah 14 (about His 2nd coming).

Walking further down the Mt. of Olives, we had special entrance into a private area of the Garden of Gethsemane. Here we read from Luke 22 and spent time in quiet reflection as we considered the passion of Jesus. Father Diego greeted us and shared some thoughtful words with us.

Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane

Walking into the Old City through the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called the Lions and Jericho Gate), we visited the Pool of Bethesda. We read from John 5. On the same grounds is St. Anne’s Church. We enjoyed singing in this Crusader Church. The acoustics in the church were fantastic!

Walking along the Via Dolorosa, we arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was built in 325 AD. We took a quick peak inside before lunch in the Christian Quarter.

Edicule

The Edicule inside the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem

Walking out of the Jaffa Gate we met our bus and drove to Herodium. Located only a few miles east of Bethlehem, this was one of Herod’s palace-fortresses.” We climbed this “artificial” mountain and saw a great view of Jerusalem to the north, Bethlehem to the west, Tekoa to the south, and the Judean Desert to the east.

From here we drove to the Shepherds’ Fields. Entering a cave, we celebrated the role of the shepherds and the humble birth of Jesus. We considered the words of Paul, “For just at the right time, God sent His Son…” (Galatians 4:4). We also enjoyed singing a few carols, both in the cave and in the Shepherds’ Chapel. A Polish and Argentina group joined us in the singing of Silent Night.

Western Wall

The Western Wall at night!

We ended the day in Bethlehem. We visited an olive wood shop and store owned by Palestinian Christians living here. Here we also celebrated David’s (our bus driver) birthday with a cake and candle.

We drove back to the hotel for dinner, followed by an optional walk to the Western Wall.

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, MAY 3: CITY OF DAVID, HEZEKIAH’S TUNNEL, SOUTHERN WALL EXCAVATIONS, FREE AFTERNOON, GARDEN TOMB

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Biblical Israel & Jordan Tour, March 2017 – Day 10 Summary

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 22:

Temple Mount and Jerusalem

The view of Jerusalem from the Mt. of Olives

Today was our first day in Jerusalem. The weather was overcast in the morning, but with sun and clouds in the afternoon, with temps in the 60s.

Driving around the north part of the Old City of Jerusalem, our first glimpse of the Temple Mount and Old City below was from the Mt. of Olives. Looking across the Kidron Valley we could see almost the entire city from here. Walking down a little further we read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14 about the Palm Sunday event and the prophecy about Christ’s return. Continuing down the slope we spent about an hour in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was a reflective time of contemplating the passion of Jesus who in this place said, “Not my will be yours be done.”

Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives

From here we walked into the Old City through the St. Stephen’s (Lion’s / Jericho) gate. Just inside the city was St. Anne’s Church and the Pools of Bethesda. We enjoyed the marvelous “echo” as we sang in the church. We also read John 5.

Walking the Via Dolorosa (mainly shops) to the Holy Sepulcher Church (one possible location for Christ’s crucifixion and burial), we visited the church inside and saw the newly-cleaned chamber that houses the tomb of Jesus.

Following lunch in the Christian Quarter, we walked out the Jaffa Gate and boarded our buses. Driving south and east about 8 miles, we arrived at Herodium. This was one of six “palace-fortresses” of Herod the Great. When he died in Jericho in 4 BC, his body was transported and buried here. It was discovered about 6 years ago. We walked to the top of this archaeological site and saw the towers of the fortress, the bathhouse, the synagogue, and the cistern system. On the way out we got a glance at the recently-revealed frescos that were part of the reception room to the tomb.

Tomb of Christ

The newly-renovated Tomb of Christ within the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Jerusalem

Driving to Beit Sahor, we enjoyed a time of singing Christmas carols in a cave in the Shepherds’ Fields. We read from Luke 2 and Galatians 4:4 and celebrated that “just at the right time God sent His Son.” We also sang a few carols in the chapel as well.

We ended the day by stopping at an olive wood factory and store in Bethlehem. Many purchased olive products made here from local olive wood.

We drove back to the hotel for dinner. Following dinner, most in the group enjoyed a special sound and light show at David’s Citadel. We was really well done.

It was a great first day here in Jerusalem!

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, MARCH 23: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

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January 2017 Pastors Israel Tour – Day 7

DAY 7- SUNDAY, JANUARY 29:

Mt. of Olives

The January 2017 Pastor-Spouse group standing on the Mt. of Olives in Jerusalem

We awoke today to a wonderful sunny day. Although the air was cool (high 40s), it provided very clear visibilities. We left the hotel shortly after 7:30. Circling the Old City of Jerusalem (with walls dating to 1537 AD), we drove up the Mt. of Olives. Here we got our first panoramic view of the Old City and Temple Mount. Walking down the western slope of the Mt. of Olives we stopped at the Dominus Flavet chapel. Here we read from Luke 19 about the Palm Sunday event and Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. We also recalled His ascension (Luke 24, Acts 1) as well as His return on the Mt. of Olives (Zech. 14).

Continuing our walk further down the slope we stopped at a special place connection with the Garden of Gethsemane. We read from Luke 22 and enjoyed some quiet time of reflection. It was here where Jesus said, “Not my will but Yours be done.” It was also here where Jesus was betrayed by Judas.

Eastern Gate

The Eastern Gate in Jerusalem (closed since 810 AD)

From here we walked across the Kidron Valley to the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called Lions & Jericho Gate). We saw the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44) which has been closed shut since 810 AD. Entering the Old City, we enjoyed singing in a Crusader church called St. Anne’s Church. The acoustics produce an echo of about 8 seconds. On the same grounds is the Pool of Bethesda. We read John 5 about the lame man being healed here.

Walking through the Muslim and Christian Quarters, we arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is one of to suggested places for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus. Inside we saw an example of a 2nd Temple tomb dating to the time of Christ.

Dead Sea

Incredible view of the Dead Sea from Herodium

After lunch in the Christian Quarter, we walked out of the Jaffa Gate and drove southeast about 8 miles to Herodium. This was where King Herod was buried when he died in 4 BC. Climbing this palace-fortress, we enjoyed a spectacular view of the area. The clear skies enabled us to see Jerusalem to the north, Bethlehem to the east, and the Judean Desert & Dead Sea to the east. We descended down through the cistern system. Through glass, we also were able to see the Herodian frescos.

In Beit Sahour (an eastern suburb of Bethlehem), we enjoyed singing Christmas carols in a cave in the Shepherds’ Fields. We also sang in the Chapel of the Shepherds. We read from Luke 2 and Galatians 4:4 (“for just at the right time God sent His Son…”).

We ended the day in Bethlehem at an olive wood shop and store. This shop and store is owned by Palestinian Christians. We returned to our hotel for dinner and an optional walk to Ben Yehuda to get a taste of some Israeli modern life.

DAY 8 – MONDAY, JANUARY 30: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, JEWISH QUARTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

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Oct-Nov 2016 Israel Tour – Day 9

DAY 9 – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8 

Jerusalem old city

Standing on the Mt. of Olives, with the Old City Jerusalem in the background!

Today was our first day in Jerusalem!  With full sun and perfect temps once again, we drove to the Mt. of Olives for our first full view of the Old City and Temple Mount. The view from here is amazing! We could see the City of David (OT Jerusalem) to the south, the Dome of the Rock (where the Temple once stood), the Eastern Gate (Ez. 44), among many other things. Walking down the path, we stopped at a chapel called Dominus Flavet. Here we read from Luke 19 (the “Palm Sunday” event), Acts 1 (Jesus’ ascension), and Zechariah 14 (Jesus’ return).

Continuing our walk down the path, we enjoyed a time of quiet reflection in the Garden of GethsemaneWe listened to “At the Cross.”  It as a special time of considering Christ’s passion and ultimate sacrifice.

garden of gethsemane

Garden of Gethsemane

Walking across the Kidron Valley, we entered the Old City through the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called Lion’s & Jericho Gate). We enjoyed singing in a Crusader church (St. Anne’s). On the same grounds are the Pools of Bethesda. We read from John 5.

We walked through the heart of the Old City on the traditional Via Dolorosa (“way of the cross”) to the Holy Sepulcher Church, one of two possible locations for the crucifixion and burial place of Jesus. We also ate lunch here in the Christian Quarter.

Walking out of the Jaffa Gate, we boarded the bus and drove to Herodium. This was another of King Herod’s fortress/palaces. It was located just east of Bethlehem on the edge of the Judean Desert. We walked to the top of this “artificial” mountain before descending down through the cistern system. This was where Herod the Great as buried!

herodium

Herodium, burial place of King Herod

Driving towards Bethlehem, we enjoyed a time of reflecting upon the Christmas story. In a cave and later a chapel, we sang a few Christmas songs together. We celebrated that “just at the right time” God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4)!

We ended the day by visiting an olive factory and shop. Bethlehem is known for its olive wood products. Following a time of shopping, we drove back to our hotel in Jerusalem. We enjoyed dinner and a free night on our own.

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 9 – WESTERN WALL, OLD CITY, JEWISH QUARTER, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

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September 2016 Israel Tour – Day 10

DAY 10 – WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28

view of temple mount from mt. of olives

The view of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount from the Mt. of Olives

Today was the first of three full days in Jerusalem. The weather was perfect, with blue sky and fluffy clouds, and temps in the low 80s. Leaving the hotel after breakfast, we drove around the Old City and up to the Mt. of Olives east of the city. Here we enjoyed a panoramic view of the Old City and Temple Mount. We connected what we saw with many Bible texts. These included the City of David (2 Samuel 5), the Palm Sunday event (Luke 19), the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44), and other references related to Christ in the Temple. We stopped briefly at Dominus Flavet where traditionally Jesus wept over Jerusalem (Luke 19). We also read the prophetic words of Zechariah 14 about Christ’s return and the splitting of the Mt. of Olives.

Walking further down the “Palm Sunday” road, we entered into a private garden at Gethsemane. It was a wonderful place to read about Jesus’ betrayal (Luke 22) and ensuing passion and crucifixion. We spent some quiet time reflecting upon Jesus words, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

garden of gethsemane Christ praying

The Garden of Gethsemane, Mt. of Olives, Jerusalem

Leaving Gethsemane, we walked across the Kidron Valley and into the Old City through the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called Lion’s Gate / Jericho Gate). We enjoyed singing in the St. Anne’s Church. There is an eight second echo in this Crusader church. Nearby is the Pool of Bethesda. We read from John 5 about the healing of the lame man here.

From here we walked the “way of the cross” (Via Dolorosa) to the Holy Sepulcher Church. This is one of the two traditional locations for the crucifixion and burial site of Christ. Following visiting the church on our own, we enjoyed lunch in the Christian Quarter.

Leaving the Old City through the Jaffa Gate, we drove to Herodium located about 8 miles south and east of Jerusalem. Located on the edge of the Judean Desert, this was one of Herod’s palace/fortress. It was also where the tomb of Herod was found. We climbed this “artificial” mountain, and saw many of the ruins. We left the site be walking through the cistern system.

herodium palace fortress

Herodium, one of Herod the Great’s palace/fortresses.

Driving towards Bethlehem, next we enjoyed a stop in the Shepherds’ Fields located in Beit Sahor. We enjoyed singing a few Christmas carols in a cave as we read from Luke 2. God sent His Son “just at the right time” (Gal. 4:4). We also enjoyed singing in the small chapel. An African group beautifully sang before us.

We ended the day by driving to an olive wood shop and store in Bethlehem. We enjoyed some shopping here of the local olive wood products carved here.

Driving back to the hotel, we enjoyed dinner together again as well as an optional walk to Ben Yehuda Street in western Jerusalem. We also got a peak of the famous signature floor inside the King David Hotel.

It was a great first day here in Jerusalem!

DAY 11 – THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 29: OLD CITY, WAILING WALL, WESTERN WALL TUNNEL, TEMPLE MOUNT SIFTING PROJECT, ISRAEL MUSEUM, YAD VASHEM

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