DAY 8 – SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 10: MT. OF OLIVES, GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, POOL OF BETHESDA, HOLY SEPULCHER CHURH, ISRAEL MUSEUM, BETHLEHEM
Today was our first full day in Jerusalem. We connected with the Bible in amazing ways once again in this ancient and current capital city of Israel. The weather was perfect, with highs in the high 70s.
Mt. of Olives
We left the hotel the morning at 7:30. We read from Psalm 125 as we began the day. We drove around the north side of the Old City of Jerusalem (2.8 miles in circumference, with walls built in 1537-44 AD by the Ottoman Turks) before ascending to the top of the Mt of Olives. Here we had a first full view of the Temple Mount and the entire Old City. It was an incredible perspective! Walking down to a small chapel called Dominus Flavet, we read from Luke 19 and Zechariah 14 about Jesus’ kingship. When we returns again, His feet will stand on this mountain and it will split into two!Further down the slope we paused to consider Jesus’ betrayal in the Garden of Gethsemane by Judas. Here, Jesus prayed, “Not my will but yours be done!”
Old City of Jerusalem
Next, we walked into the Old City through the St. Stephen’s Gate (also called the Lion’s and Jericho Gate). Before we entered, we got a close-up view of the Eastern/Golden Gate. Proceeding to St. Anne’s Church just inside the gate of the city we enjoyed singing a few songs. The church has about a 8 second echo!We sounded like an angelic choir! Also on the grounds of the church are the Pools of Bethesda. Here the paralyzed man was healed by Jesus (John 5).
From here we walked the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The crowds of people made it difficult to see this church built originally in 325 AD. Archaeologically, this area of the church is the most likely place for the crucifixion and burial site of Jesus.
“Our day in Jerusalem was incredible! The first view of the Old City from the Mt. of Olives was breath-taking! While we did a lot of walking through crowds of people, it was amazing to see all the places related to the Bible.” -Tour Member-
Following lunch in the Christian Quarter of the Old City, we walked out of Jaffa Gate and met our buses. We drove to the Israel Museum where we saw three things: a 1:50 scale model of 2nd Temple Jerusalem, the Shrine of the Book (where some of the Dead Sea Scrolls are displayed) and highlights that connected us with the Bible within the archaeological wing of the museum. Here we saw many artifacts among which included the Dan and Pilate inscriptions, Canaanite weaponry, figurines, restored pottery vessels, ossuaries, and much more.
Our last stop of the day was Bethlehem. Our first stop here was to the Shepherds’ Fields (actually in Beit Sahour outside of Bethlehem). We enjoyed reading Luke 2 and singing a few Christmas carols together in celebration of God’s redemptive plan fulfilled in Jesus. We also drove into Bethlehem to an olive wood shop and store.
After some shopping, we drove back to our two hotels for dinner. Some ventured out to Ben Yehuda Street for a title taste of modern Israeli life and some more shopping.It was a great first full day here in Jerusalem!