Sabbatical 2017

Sabbatical 2017
Arc de Triumph

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Israel 2016, Day 7 (Friday)

I met Bathsheba today. 

Our day started very early. Here are some shots from around out hotel just after. We're staying at the Knight's Palace, about a 10 minute walk from the Gloria, our first hotel. Both places are run by the same gracious Muslim family.

The view to the right of the hotel entrance, a typical side street
The view immediately forward as you exit the hotel
Just around the corner from the entrance to the hotel
We had an incredibly active day today, starting out at the top of the Mount of Olives and the spectacular view of the city it offers.

Dr. Grisanti (Dr. G) did a teaching on Passion week from the middle of one of the many Jewish cemeteries on the Mount.

Following the path likely taken by Jesus down the Mount of Olives, we entered the Garden of Gethsemane near the bottom of the Kidron valley. We heard the there are three locations that claim to be the actual garden.  Dr. G wisely shared that wherever it was, this particular one would was the best representation of what the garden was like. It was set aside by Queen Helena, Constantine's mother in the 4th century, Helena established a number of sacred sites in the Holy Land by interviewing 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation eye witnesses to many of the events and their locations.

The Temple walls and the Golden Gate are clearly visible form the garden

Some of the tress have roots that go back nearly 2000 years
Our next stop was the Israel Museum. There was a lot to see. We concentrated on the displays that detailed the pagan cultures that lived in Palestine prior to Israeli occupation. 

This is Emperor Hadrian. The bust is called "Hadrian's Beard"
One of the primary attractions of the museum is the scale model of Jerusalem during the time of Herod. 

Here's a display that was excavated from a Roman crucifixion site. It shows a nail driven through the heel of a man who was crucified. 

We had lunch in downtown Jerusalem. 

Police patrol

I had a hamburger with "100% Beef Meat"

After lunch, I  stopped at a sidewalk cafe to get a cup of coffee when a local couple struck up a conversation. When they heard I was a pastor, the husband laughed and said, "You will appreciate this. My name is Eleazar (Aaron's son) and this is my wife, Bathsheba! You know? Like the wife of David? Bathsheba was the queen!" They were thoroughly delightful people. 

And...we found that some pretty unusual things can happen in Jerusalem. 

We finished the day at the Garden Tomb. This site is managed by the British who claim this is the actual location of the tomb of Christ. I've heard their presentation before and they have softened their stance considerably. They're less insistent that this is positively the right site. 

After our tour ended, Dr. G discussed both sites, this one and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, ending with these wise words, "The  most important thing for us to remember is that Jesus did die and was resurrected. There was a tomb. The reality of the resurrection is far more important than nailing down the "right" location."

Whether this is the right place or not, it's a beautiful reminder that the tomb and garden were real.
A stone like those that would seal a tomb
The Brits believe this to be Golgotha, the Hill of the Skull.
Of course no significant site would be complete without the ubiquitous souvenir vendors, "5 scarves, 20 shekels, olive wood..I like you!"

Tomorrow, we take out first trip outside the city. We're headed for Bethlehem!

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