Sunday, April 20, 2014

Israel - Day 7

On day 7, we stayed within Jerusalem and started seeing a lot of things that took place during the Holy Week (Jesus’ last week of his life).


This is what is left of the Pool of Betheseda.  This pool is where many people that needed healing went into in hopes of the waters healing them.  Jesus told many of the people he healed to get into its waters.

The next several pictures were taken inside the Fortress of Antonia.  This is the location for where Jesus’ trial in front of Pilate took place.  The picture below is of us on the main level talking with our guide.  This level was added on way past Jesus’ time.  But then we went downstairs to the bottom floor where the floor was the ACTUAL floor that Jesus stood on when he was sentenced by Pilate.

IMGP0673 IMGP0678

We were reading the scriptures about this last trial.


Standing where he stood.  There are no words!!


Gorgeous artwork depicting Jesus’ walk on the Via Dolorosa.


This is the Via Dolorosa.  It’s the pathway through the city that Jesus walked from Pilate’s palace to Calvary where he died on the cross.


There are various “stations” of the Via Dolorosa.  Something different happened at each station.  This one for example was where Simon the Cyrene helped Jesus carry his cross.


Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  GORGEOUS church.  This is the church that was built on top of the land that marks where Jesus was crucified, buried and where he was resurrected.


The place that marks the spot where Jesus was crucified is covered in brass lamps and very ornate light fixtures.  It’s almost hard to imagine this being the spot where he died because it’s too “pretty” in my opinion.


This is the alter that you kneel down into to pray or just to reach your hand into that little hole to touch what’s left of the rocky grounds that Christ was crucified on.  Getting to this alter was like standing in line at a ride in Six Flags.  There were TONS of people waiting for the exact same thing.


An overall look at the alter from a distance.


This is the Church of the Resurrection.  It’s like a church within a church, I know.  But it is the spot where Jesus’ body was carried and laid to rest.  You had to wait in another one of those “Six Flags” type lines to get inside.  This place was extremely small.  When you walked into the main door, you entered a small room that could fit maybe 10 people.  You waited there some more while 4 people at a time went through a very small opening into the tomb where Christ was buried and later resurrected.


This is that tomb.  Where the round thing holding the several candles is….that’s where Jesus body was laid.  Only 4 people could fit into this place at a time but we all went inside and were able to kneel down on the floor and put our hands on the tombstone where his body lay and prayed.  It was such a surreal experience.  The experience only lasted about 30 seconds because that’s how long it took for the priest standing outside in the main room (the one only 10 people could fit into) and he would bang his hand on the wall saying “move along”.  That kinda killed the moment, not gonna lie.


This is THE stone that Jesus was chained to when he was flogged by the Romans. 

After quite an emotional morning, it was time for lunch.  Let me tell you something about the food in Israel.  They’re actually not bad.  I was shocked.  See, I’m a VERY picky eater.  I was worried about the food a lot.  But breakfast and dinner were buffets at the hotel and included any and everything you could imagine.  Lunches were on the go as we were out exploring.  Usually wherever we went knew we were coming and had two options ready for us, one of which was usually chicken related.  On Day 7, we went to a place and went to get in line and take a look at what they had….


Pizza, french fries and coke.  Americanized much???

Later that afternoon a few of us went back into the Holy City just to walk around and try to see some things we didn’t see the first time we went as a whole group. 


RTR my friends!


Holy Rock Cafe….BAHAHAHAHA….this one had us laughing for a while!

Then we went back to the Western (Wailing) Wall.




Saying a couple of prayers at the wall that I had forgotten about the first time we went there.


This is just outside the temple.  They are called “ritual baths”.  It’s where people would come before entering the temple to be bathed so that they would be “clean” when entering the temple.


These are where the shops would have been where Jesus came and got so angry and turned the tables upside down.  He was mad because people were taking advantage of travelers that had come from far away.  They couldn’t bring their sacrificial animals from such a long distance, so they were forced to buy them once they got into Jerusalem.  The vendors took advantage of this and jacked up the prices in order to profit off of it. 

And finally, we made our way to the Teaching Steps.  This is a big staircase, but only the bottom six steps are truly authentic from Jesus’ day.  On Tuesday and Wednesday during the last week of Jesus’ life, he did a lot of preaching at the temple.  This is where that preaching was done.  The disciples along with anyone else that would listen would sit on these steps and listen to Jesus teach.

IMGP0763 IMGP0765-1

Me and my in-laws on the steps.

This truly was such an emotional day!  Next up is Day 8, our final day in Israel (the trip was 10 days total, but two days were spent traveling, so only 8 days of sightseeing).   On Day 8 we visited Ein Karem which is where John the Baptist was born and raised and also where Mary went to visit her cousin Elizabeth upon learning that she was pregnant with Jesus.  Good stuff on that day!