You were prayed for today. May 2, 2016
We spent today touring in and around Jerusalem. Our first stop was the Western Wall. This is the outside wall from where the Ark of the Covenant was initially at. It is also the Western Wall that surrounds the Temple Mount, where you see the Golden Dome, (currently a Muslim Holy place). It is held in high regard by many throughout the world. People from all around come here and place a piece of paper in the wall which has the names of people they prayed for.
From there we traveled under the Temple Mount to see how the temple area was constructed and where they found their water source. It was hard to realize how they moved stones that weight around a million pounds in place. It was also interesting seeing many orthodox Jews spending much time in prayer at the wall.
The next stop was the Mt of Ascension, where Jesus ascended into heaven, also the place where he is to returned. We could look across to the Golden Dome. Moving down from this, we passed through the largest active Jewish cemetery. We noticed that there were several small stones atop many of the graves. This is where family and friends come to remember their loved one and place stones rather than flowers.
Hela, our tour guide led us through a historical look at this place. In 2 Samuel 24:22 we read that David bought a threshing floor. This would later become the location of the Temple Mount. Currently it’s under Islamic control, but prophecy tells that one day the Jews will return to it along with Christ.
We then traveled down the hill to the Garden of Gethsemane. We stopped at the chapel of tears, the place supposedly where Jesus wept over the Holy city. With some special connections Hela had, we were able to go into the chapel. Once inside (which happened to be filled with many people) we sang a number of songs. This was another very moving moment when we spent time in worship.
We finally made it to the garden. There is a fence that prohibits people from traveling through it, but you can walk it’s perimeter. Next to the garden of Gethsemane is the Basicillica Agony. Located within it is believed to be the rock where Jesus prayed. They were having mass at the time, but we were able to go in to look.
Following lunch we went to a beautiful Olive wood store with some of the most amazing carvings. We continued on to Bethlehem. Since our guide is an Israeli citizen, she was not allowed into this Palestinian city. We were supplied another person who took us into Bethlehem and then to the Church of the Nativity. We came to the place of the nativity. It certainly isn’t like the Children’s Christmas programs that I have seen, but it was still special. After we saw the Nativity, we sat in the church next to it and sang a few Christmas Carols. As we finished singing, another group began to sing another song, but in another language. As we were walking out, we all recognized the tune and began to sing along in English. All of the sudden the volume began to raise and the music resonated throughout the chapel. As I walked by I had to give their group leader a big smile and high-five. Despite the language difference, the message was still the same.
Tonight following dinner we are heading to an outdoor light show just inside the Japha gate. We don’t know what to expect, but we certainly haven’t been disappointed yet. Oh, I must say, you were prayed for today. Hela told us last night that we could be prepared to write some prayer requests on a piece of paper. We could then place that paper in the Western Wall. Besides the specific names that I wrote on my paper, you were included, all you that are reading this blog. I pray that you might realize how blessed Kim and I feel for being on this trip and that you might be able to share in this blessing.