My Journey Through the Holy Land - Part Two
Thank you for hanging with me! The Lord led in a different direction the past couple of weeks, so I am just now getting to post part 2 of the Holy Land trip! If you missed part 1, you can check it out here.
What a treat you are in for today…we are entering into Jerusalem! Words just can't describe it, but as we were traveling through the Judean desert by bus, we topped a mountain and the entire city of Jerusalem skyline was right before our eyes! It's an image I don't think I ever can forget! Wow, just wow! So, come along and walk where Jesus walked!
Mount of Olives: So much happened here! This is where the Triumphal entry took place (Luke 19:28-44) and this is also where the Second Coming of Christ (Zechariah 14:4) will occur! Come Lord Jesus Come!! You will also see pictures of the Old City Jerusalem. We are facing the Eastern gates, which are the gates Jesus will return through (Ezekiel 44:1-3)
Garden of Gethsemane: Gethsemane means “pressed”. This is where Jesus would come and pray often, especially on the last night of His life on earth. Here Jesus took upon Himself the sins of mankind (Matthew 26:36-56; Luke 22:39-53). It was also the site of the betrayal of Jesus and His arrest (Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-13). So far, this has been one of the most overwhelming and emotional parts of the trip. To sit in the same area that my Savior took on my sins and sweat blood over me...there are no words!
House of Caiaphas: Today there is a church built on the palace. This is the site where Peter denied Jesus 3 times (John 18:15-18, 25-27). In the basement, it’s said this is where Jesus may have been held during the night before His appearance before Pilate (Matthew 26:57-63). You can see in the top right picture that there were straps to tie the prisoners to. The bottom left picture is looking down into the cave and the bottom right picture is me down in the cave and looking up. Our team sang worship songs as we all piled into the cave…just praising our Savior for what He endured just for us!
The Model City: This is a model of the city of Jerusalem. It took 7 years to finish and it is on a scale of 1 to 50 (1/4 inch=1 foot). This helped us understand where key places are as we travel around Jerusalem.
Temple Mount - it sits on top of Mount Moriah. This is where Solomon builds the Temple to God, which was first destroyed by the Babylonians in 586B.C. And where the second Temple of Jesus’ time was rebuilt during he time of Zerubbel, Nehemiah and Ezra and later enlarged by Herod the Great. Today the Temple Area is under the control of the Muslims. The Temple is gone and the Muslim Shrine, known as “Dome of The Rock”. There is so much to tell you here...refer to the pictures for more information! This is also where God told Abraham to bring his only son Isaac (Gen. 22). The bottom right picture is the Eastern Gate from inside the Temple Mount.
Wailing Wall (Western Wall)- This is the closest the Jews can get to the Temple. Jews do not go to the top where Muslims have control. This portion of the wall is all that’s left of the Temple compound. This portion is 60 yards long and 60 feet high. Men and women have separate areas. Men must have their heads covered.
Also while here, we got to go through the Wailing Wall tunnels. Today, the Muslim quarters are built on top of the wall, so we went underground to the original and that foundation holds up the homes on top. While under there, we were able to see a new archeological discovery of the central fountain and the actual stones that Jesus walked on! Archeologists are finding new things all of the time! What an amazing job to have!
Southern Steps - This is where Jesus ascended each time He entered the Temple. Jesus most likely paused here often to teach the Twelve Disciples.
City of David - Where King David once lived and ruled. Many things happened here. This is where King David stood on the roof and looked into Bethsheba’s courtyard while she was bathing (II Samuel 11:1-5). David brought the Ark of the Covenant here (II Samuel 6). Many books of the Bible were written here and it’s one of the largest archaeological spots in the world.
The Upper Room - Talk about amazing!!! Traditional site of the First Supper! Not the original room, but if you dig far enough they say you will find it. Matthew 26:17-30; John 13:1-30
The Holocaust Museum - This is my first Holocaust Museum I have been in. Our tour guide shared how members of his family were impacted by it and the Jews perspective. It brought us to tears!
Judean Wilderness: We drove through here while traveling to The Dead Sea. It lies east of Jerusalem and is bordered by the Mountains of Juda to the west and The Dead Sea to the east. It has been mostly uninhabited because of its lack of water and good routes. This is where David hid in various places when running from King Saul (I Samuel 21), John the Baptist preached here (Matthew 3:1-3) and it seems likely that this was the wilderness where Jesus was tempted.
Masada: the Judean fortress fortified by Herod. It sits on an isolated rock plateau overlooking the Judean desert and the Dead Sea. It was a refuge for Herod in the event of a revolt. It’s an amazing story of battle between the Jews and the Romans. You should google it sometime!
Qumran: the archeological site and discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947. Prior to this finding, the most recent copy of scriptures was the 6th century A.D. This new find gives us copies that date from 300 B.C. To 70 A.D. and exactly match, letter-for-letter, word-for-Word, with the 6th century copies! There are 11 caves at Qumran and all the Old Testament books have been found except Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther. 118 scrolls pieces were found in cave #4, which I have a picture of above. There was also a Rabi on site writing scrolls while we were there! So neat!
The Dead Sea: This was such a neat experience!! We were told to walk in the water waist high and just lean back and start floating! CRAZY!!! We did just that...we actually had a hard time not floating! It’s high salt content allows you to float. It was hard to stay under. We then lathered down with the mud and rinsed off under the showers. My skin has never felt better! It's so beautiful, so it's hard to believe nothing lives in those beautiful waters!
Pool of Bethesda: This is where Jesus healed a lame man (John 5:1-16). It has been partially excavated and is about 60 feet below the present ground level.
Via Dolorosa: We walked down the Via Dolorosa where Jesus would have carried the cross vertically and strapped to him. The streets were probably my even more narrow in Jesus’ day. People could do whatever they wanted to him as he passed through. We know from Matthew 27:32, Simon of Cyrene helped him when he couldn’t carry it any longer.
The Garden Tomb: Here we saw the location of Calvary and the EMPTY tomb! The Romans crucified at major intersections not on a famous hill as we all think. At the corner of Jaffa Road and the road to Damascus, is a place that is likely to be “Skull Hill”. Crucifixions were done so many could see them and fear them.
The place of the tomb fulfills all scripture and archeological findings to be the tomb that Jesus’ body was laid in. It was an overwhelming and emotional time to walk through the tomb, but praise God we have a risen Savior!! We see Him at work in our lives every day! We had a time of reflection and took the Lord’s Supper and a sweet time of worship.
Thank you for allowing me to share this journey with you all! If you ever get the chance to go to the Holy Land, run as fast as you can! It's worth every penny you spend, It's one of the safest places I have been and you will never, ever read Scripture the same!
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids, part-time marketing director, loves hanging out in her community and building relationships...oh and loves to laugh!