Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jewish Quarter

Today I dragged Shawn around the Jewish Quarter and the City of David. Most of this was old ground for me, but I wanted him to see and experience it.

First, a look at a 7th C BC wall built by Jewish King Hezekiah

2 Chr 32:5 "Then he (Hezekiah) worked hard repairing all the broken sections of the wall and building towers on it. He built another wall outside that one and reinforced the supporting terraces of the City of David. He also made large numbers of weapons and shields."

Then a trip under a building to visit the remains of a 1st C AD mansion that was destroyed by the Romans in 70AD, along with the whole city. A good case can be made that this is the house Jesus was taken to in John 18:12-13.

Next stops at the Western or Wailing Wall, followed by a visit to the Southern end of the Temple - the place between the City of David and the Temple itself.

Then into the City of David, the ancient part of Jerusalem. Here are remains of what very well may have been David’s and Solomon’s Palace.

Then a trip down the long tunnel that connected to the Canaanite era water supply.

Followed by a quick look into the Gihon Spring

Then I begged and bribed (literally) my way into a closed section of a newly discovered section of Herodian (1st C AD) road and drainage tunnel. This may have played a part in the story of Jesus healing a blind man in Jn 9:7.

Tonight is our last night. We have a late night flight home tomorrow. I always feel a sense of loss when I leave Jerusalem. But I am also weary of  two weeks hard touring, my knees ache like crazy at every stair, rain has started, and another part of me longs to be home.
 I may add a few posts when I get home, but this will probably be my last post for a few days. Thanks for reading!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Change of Schedule

Today was a day of changes. We had planned to have a guide take us up to the Temple Mount. But a few days ago a Palestinian protester was shot and killed there and the site remains closed to non-Moslems. So our guide took us to a few other places, including a place I have always wanted to visit, but never have-Hebron.

Gen 13:18  "So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD."

Basically, this is the place this happened. There is a 1st century building built over the cave Abrahan and Sarah are buried in, and then this building - a church then a mosque - was added to it.

The cave has an opening that is covered with a dome and a covering.

And on the way back we saw this....look close...yes, it really is what you think it is.

After that, we went to Herod's fortress south of Jerusalem and east of Bethlehem. An amazing place.

Then we visited the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

I might add that Bethlehem has all the things a person might want.

We stopped at a place that might be (and to be honest, I'm not convinced) the house of the High Priest Caiphias and the place Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin. The view of the old City of David is great.

The proported jail cell of Jesus...actually a cistern.

By the way, we had an absolutely fantastic meal at the place in Bethlehem that didn’t even look like a restaurant. The grandmother raises chickens, gets whole wheat flour and bakes fresh bread, and they made all their “mezes” (dipping sauces like hummus) from scratch. The food was out of this world. They even brought out hot, fresh date pastry cookies for dessert. A meal I will long remember.

Final note: See that white dot in the middle? there will be a prise for the first person to figure out what this is...and no, not a UFO.

Of course, there is a little security on the way.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Central Highlands

Today was my first day ever in the central highlands of what was Canaan/Ancient Israel. Lots of Old Testament stuff took place here and a few important New Testament stories too. Let me give you some Biblical references to what happened in the places we went, just know that in most of the places several different things happened there.

Josh 18:1 "The whole assembly of the Israelites gathered at Shiloh and set up the Tent of Meeting there. The country was brought under their control,"---The place the Tent of Meeting and the Ark of the Covenant sat for almost 300 years was probably right in the middle of this picture.

1 Sam 1:24  "After he was weaned, she took the boy with her, young as he was, along with a three-year-old bull, an ephah of flour and a skin of wine, and brought him to the house of the LORD at Shiloh."
---This may have been the house of Eli the priest of Shiloh and the place he raised Samuel, the great Old Testmament judge and priest, the priest who annionted Saul and David king. There are homes on the hill from the right time period, the place a priest would live.

Mark 12:1 "He then began to speak to them in parables: "A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey."
---Perfect example of a watchtower

Deu 11:29 "When the LORD your God has brought you into the land you are entering to possess, you are to proclaim on Mount Gerizim the blessings, and on Mount Ebal the curses."
---This is Mt Gerizim.

2 Ki 17:26-27 "It was reported to the king of Assyria: "The people you deported and resettled in the towns of Samaria do not know what the god of that country requires. He has sent lions among them, which are killing them off, because the people do not know what he requires." {27} Then the king of Assyria gave this order: "Have one of the priests you took captive from Samaria go back to live there and teach the people what the god of the land requires."
---This is on Mt Gerizim, where the Samaritians build there temple and held their sacrifices (and still do so today. The temple area is in the foreground and a place of sacrifice towards the top, middle.

This is a Samatarian priest, the next in line for the high priest. He runs a museum in their small village and is anxious to tell people their story. There are lerss than 200 Samaritans left.

Josh 24:15 "But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.""
---These words of Joshua were spoken here in Shehem, seen from Mt Gerizim. The city in the foreground is a Palestinian refuge camp that has been there since 1948.

Judg 9:46-49 "On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith. {47} When Abimelech heard that they had assembled there, {48} he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, "Quick! Do what you have seen me do!" {49} So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died."
---That gruesome act happened right here in this temple. You can see the foundations. By the way, this city is so old Abraham may have visited it: Gen 12:6  "Abram traveled through the land as far as the site of the great tree of Moreh at Shechem. At that time the Canaanites were in the land."


John 4:5-7 "So Jesus came to a town in Samaria called Sychar, near the plot of ground Jacob had given to his son Joseph. {6} Jacob's well was there, and Jesus, tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour. {7} When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?"
---Happened right here. At the back of this modern church in Shechem are stairs leading down to a well that was almost certainly Jacob's well. No pictures were allowed. Bummer.

1 Ki 16:23-24 "In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king of Israel, and he reigned twelve years, six of them in Tirzah. {24} He bought the hill of Samaria from Shemer for two talents of silver and built a city on the hill, calling it Samaria, after Shemer, the name of the former owner of the hill."
---Omri's palace was right in the middle of this picture. Centuries later, Herod would build a grand temple to Augustus Caesar just behind this.

Finally a probably NOT. This is a Crusader era church that claimed to house the burial site of John the Baptist. They are almost certainly wrong.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Old City - Day 1

Jerusalem is like no other place on earth. Really. I find it totally amazing, from the simple bread bakery to the Tomb of Christ. It drips in history, holiness, conflict, and mystery.

I’m a bit amazed that I now know it well enough to be a pretty good tour guide. We covered a good part of the Christian, Moslem, and Armenian quarters today, along with a brief foray into boring Mt Zion.

I did stop by the Church of St John, the oldest church in Jerusalem, for thr first time, but no one was there to let us in.

We also did the Russian Church by the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and actually were allowed to take pictures. Last time I was there a huge Russian priest when street rat crazy on me about not taking any pictures.

Here are a few random pictures:

I did get to walk down the Moslem graveyard on the east side of the Temple Mount, something I had been wanting to do.

Finished the night at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Even then, the place was busy. Christians are loving the space to the point of craziness.