Friday, April 4, 2014

Israel - Day 5

Day 5 was spent in Jerusalem, by the Jordan River and in Jericho.  We started the day by heading to the Mount of Olives to get one UNBELIEVABLE view of the old city.   By the way, all references to the “old city” refer to the part of Jerusalem that is enclosed by the big wall.  Anything outside of this wall is considered the new city and was built up significantly after the time of Christ.



While at this spot, there were camel rides that were offered for $5.  You can’t turn down a camel ride with Jerusalem in the background!!

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Those white tube looking things with holes in them are called “white wash tombs”.  This is where some Jews pay a huge sum (upwards of $50,000!) to be buried because this is where Christ is supposed to return and they want to see him first and walk into the city with him.


Now this was really cool.  This was quite a steep hill downwards from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem.  This was the same path that Jesus walked down on Palm Sunday riding on a colt when the Jewish people greeted him saying “Hosanna in the highest” and putting palm branches or cloaks at his feet.  We walked this road from the location of those views of the city into the Garden of Gethsemene.

Welcome to the Garden!

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Inside the Garden is a church called the Church of All Nations.  In the center of the alter in this church is the supposed rock where Jesus prayed to God asking for the cup to pass from him.  Usually you can go up and touch it, but unfortunately for us, there was a service in process so a picture was all I could get.


The rock is surrounded by a little rod iron fence  to keep people from walking on it.

After leaving Jerusalem, we headed to the Jordan River.  This was by far my FAVORITE event of my trip.  Several people chose to get baptized at this spot-the same spot that John the Baptist baptized Jesus.  It’s also the location for where the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the promised land.  Such significance to this spot, so of course, I was looking forward to my baptism in it!


Don saying a prayer for all of us getting dunked!


Yes, my father-in-law (left) helped our pastor with the baptisms.  The look on my face was because that water was FREEZING.  It was in the low 60 degrees and literally took your breath away!

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After the baptisms, we headed into Jericho, the oldest city in the world.  If you have read the Old Testament, you know that this is the city that God told Joshua to destroy.  That was a tough request because there was a gigantic wall that surrounded the city.  So God told him to take his army and march around the city’s wall for 7 days blowing trumpets and on the 7th day, the wall crumbled and fell and the Israelites took the city.


We had lunch at a really cool place in Jericho and a few of us sat outside so we could see the view of the Mountain of Temptation.  It’s that tall dirt mountain you see in the background.  This is where Jesus was tempted by Satan 3 times during his 40 day roaming of the wilderness after his baptism.

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Some of the remains that archeologists have dug up of the old city.


If you keep up with news, this place may look familiar.  In the 40’s, a shepherd was looking for his lost goat and was looking within caves in the desert in Qumran.  In this cave you see in the above picture, he found the Dead Sea Scrolls.  There were many many scrolls in jars in this cave and it was actually the book of Isaiah.  The other books of the Bible have been found in various caves in the area.  All of the books have been found except for Esther.

After leaving Qumran, we headed back to our hotel.  That evening, a group of us ventured out to the Wailing Wall (Western Wall).  It’s the only portion of the wall around the city that dates back to Jesus’ day.  Jews prefer to call it the Western Wall and will get offended if you call it the Wailing Wall.  After the Roman Crusade in 70AD that destroyed all of Jerusalem (except this wall) Jews fled for their safety.  They traveled back every now and again to come pray at this wall and they cried over the loss of their city and for the Messiah to come (the Jews don’t believe Jesus is the Messiah-they are still waiting for him to come).  The Romans guarding the city noticed how they cried at the wall and they nicknamed that section of the wall as the Wailing Wall.  This is why Jews get offended by it.


There was a men’s and women’s entrance.  I thought this was strange, but there was even a men’s and women’s side to the wall.  Crazy.


This is me putting my prayers in the wall (I wrote out several for friends and family) and saying a prayer touching the wall.  So grateful to Ina (pastor’s wife) for taking this picture!  Great moment to have on camera!


This is where I put my prayers.


The women’s side of the wall.  Most of these women, like a lot of the “Ultra Jews” as they are called, are still praying for the arrival of the Messiah.


An overall look at the wall.  The divider in the middle is what separates the men and women’s side.  The divider obviously doesn’t keep women from looking over it by standing on chairs, as you can see in my picture.

Next up is Day 6, which was actually a free day.  We had the choice to stay at the hotel or go on some extra tours.  One of them was to tour the city of Masada and go to the Dead Sea.  Obviously that’s what I picked!  So next up is the Dead Sea and the ancient city of Masada!