Hello Friends and Family!
We have made it to Jerusalem! We arrived early in the morning to a beautiful from on the Mount of Olives, looking down at the Old City from the same vantage point that Jesus did on his entry many times into the city and especially from the Triumphal Entry on Palm Sunday. It is a special thing to see the city for the first time, and we all just stood there for a few minutes to take it in.
(first views of Jerusalem from the top of Mount of Olives)
Then we began descending the Mount of Olives, and as we did, we cried "Hosanna, Blessed is the One who comes in the name of the Lord." We stopped where Jesus wept over the city and read Scripture together, then came to the base of the Mount of Olives where the Garden of Gethsemane was. There were large crowds here on this particular morning from all over the world, reflecting on Jesus' willing to go to the cross for our sake. The Temple Mount loomed large over the Garden. It was a special part of the day.
(A very old olive tree in the Garden of Gethsemane)
We then got to help with an archaeological sifting projecting on the Mount of Olives, sifting through things that were ancient and old. Many of us found pottery and some of us found ancient glass, tiles mosaics and even a tooth, all from material that was taken from the Temple Mount during a Muslim construction project.
(Temple Mount sifting project)
(Ancient glass (black thing) and 1st century nail (bottom center)
Then we headed into the Old City of Jerusalem, which is broken into 4 districts. We enjoyed our time in the Jewish Quarter, finding a good spot for lunch, touring the Hurva Synagogue and taking in the alleyways and kids playing while adults moved about there day. We finished with exploration of a burnt house from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
(Hurva Synagogue in Jewish Quarter of the Old City)
(Zion Gate into Jerusalem, note bullet holes from War of Independence in 1948)
In the evening some of us walked up to a popular Market, Mahane Yehuda, not far from our hotel. The sites and smells were really fun to take in!
Tomorrow we visit the Temple Mount, head to Bethlehem, and finish in the City of David.
It is a joy to be in Jerusalem together