DAY 8 – MONDAY, FEBRUARY 24: MT. OF OLIVES, GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, POOL OF BETHESDA, ISRAEL MUSEUM, BETHLEHEM
Today was the first of three days here and around Jerusalem. We enjoyed sunny skies in the morning, with cloud cover in the afternoon. Temps were around 60.
Mt. of Olives
We left the hotel at 7:30 again, reading Psalm 125:1-2 on the way. We drove around part of the Old City en route to the top of the Mt. of Olives. From here we had the greatest view of the Temple Mount and the Old City below! Walking down though the Jewish cemetery, we stopped at a chapel called Dominus Flavet. We read from Luke 19 and Zachariah 14. One day Jesus will return here and be proclaimed as the King of kings and Lord of lords! Further down the slope, we quietly sat in a private garden and read from Luke 22. Someone in the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was betrayed by Judas. “Not my will but yours be done” is how Jesus responded in His passion to fulfill His redemptive purpose.
From here we walked to the Eastern Gate. This gate has been closed since 810 AD. When He returns, Jesus the Messiah will walk through this gate (or as some suggest, a gate of a future Temple, see Ez. 44).
“It was wonderful to be in Jerusalem today! The view from the Mt. of Olives was special! I’m so glad we choose this trip over other touristy ones. The depth of Bible teaching we are getting is incredible.” -Tour Member-
We walked into the Old City through the Lion’s Gate (also called St. Stephen’s and Jericho Gate).
St. Anne’s Church – Pools of Bethesda
Our first stop within the Old City was to the St. Anne’s Church. Stepping inside of this Crusader Church we enjoyed the 8 second echo as we sang a few songs. Nearby are the Pools of Bethesda. The lower ruins here date to the 1st century. We read from John 5 about the healing that took place here.
Holy Sepulcher Church
Walking through the Old City was a bit a challenging given the crowds of people. But we made out way to the Holy Sepulcher Church. Built in 325 AD, this is a possible location for Christ’s crucifixion and burial. It was also quite crowded inside. We ate lunch in the Christian Quarter.
We left the Old City through the Jaffa Gate. David met us with the bus here. We drove to the Israel Museum where we saw three things. First, a 1:50 scale model of Jerusalem as it looked like in 70 AD was quite impressive. We retraced Jesus’ ministry here in Jerusalem and in the Temple. Second, we walked through the Shrine of the Book where we saw some of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Lastly, we saw the highlights within the archaeological wing of the museum. This included artifacts such as the Dan and Pilate Inscriptions, Herod’s sarcophagus, and many others.
Our last stop of the day was to the Bethlehem area. In the Shepherds’ Fields in Beit Sahour we descended down into a cave where we considered Christ’s birth. The shepherds used caves like this to care for their flocks. We read from Luke 2 and Galatians 4:4. It was “just at the right time” that God sent His Son (Gal. 4:4). We also sang a few Christmas carols here as well as in the Shepherds’ Chapel. We ended the day by visiting an olive wood factory and store in Bethlehem.
We returned to the hotel for dinner and a free evening.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25: YAD VASHEM, THE “SHEPHELAH” – LOWLANDS OF JUDAH – LACHISH, QEIYAFA & ELAH VALLEY, BETH SHEMESH & SOREK VALLEY, GEZER & AIJALON VALLEY, JERUSALEM