Israel Day 9: Mt. of Olives, Dominus Flevit, Garden of Gethesmane, Caiaphas' House, Model of Jerusalem, Shrine of the Book

Our trip is winding down and things are starting to become a blur. We've seen so many sights and stood in awe of so many things. It's hard to keep track of it all.... which is why my blogs will start to be more about emotions and pictures rather than facts and numbers.

We started out the day at the top of the Mt. of Olives. This is just breathtaking. Modern. Ancient. Visual. Unbelievable. All those things and more. The Dome of the Rock is shining and we are quickly reminded that things are not as they should be. One day Christ will return to reign from that very spot. The very spot where Abraham offered up Isaac, where the 1st temple was built, where the 2nd temple was built, and where Christ will reign forever. And we were standing right in a spot where we could see it all.

words cannot express....

It is really windy and chilly. We sit and look at all the sites while Yuval points out the monuments and buildings. There are muslim graves all along the outside of the wall. There are Jewish graves all along the Mt. of Olives side.

We grab a group picture and then head down the road that Jesus traveled down to the Garden of Gethesmane. It's hard to believe that all of those historical accounts happened on these few hills. Remember, it's all within walking distance.

We stop half way down at Dominus FlevitHere we read Luke 19 where Jesus, while walking toward the city of Jerusalem, becomes overwhelmed by the beauty of the Second Temple and predicts its future destruction, and the diaspora of the Jewish people, weeps openly. This is where Jesus wept. We step inside the modern church built here and I snap one of my favorite shots of the entire trip. 

We finish our walk down the hill and end at the Garden of Gathesmane. This is where Christ's concern for the 11 that were with him was greater than his concern for himself. Olive trees are survivors and there is one that is over 2,000 years old. Which means this tree was present when Christ was in the garden. Amazing.

There is also a church there that inside has the rock bed that is believed that Christ wept on. 

We go inside for a few moments and then end our time outside in a secluded garden just on the other side. Here Dr. Hannah gives us a devotional and talks about Christ's humble submission to the Father which ultimately took him to Caiaphas' house. We sing Amazing Grace and also There is a Redeemer. We spend 10 minutes or so on reflection and in prayer by ourselves. This was one of the best 10 minutes of the trip. It's nice to be able to have a moment and pause and reflect. 

Across the Kidron Valley and up the hill is the home of Caiaphas. There is a church there now, but we walk in the doors and down to the basement where Christ was in prison and kept in the dungeon while being prosecuted. We stand in the dungeon where Christ was chained and read Psalm 88 and also sing Man of Sorrows What a Name. This is absolutely one of my all time favorite songs. You listen hereHere's the lyrics:

  1. “Man of Sorrows!” what a name
    For the Son of God, who came
    Ruined sinners to reclaim.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!
  2. Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
    In my place condemned He stood;
    Sealed my pardon with His blood.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!
  3. Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
    Spotless Lamb of God was He;
    “Full atonement!” can it be?
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!
  4. Lifted up was He to die;
    “It is finished!” was His cry;
    Now in Heav’n exalted high.
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!
  5. When He comes, our glorious King,
    All His ransomed home to bring,
    Then anew His song we’ll sing:
    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Just outside are the 36 steps to his house. These are the steps that Jesus was brought up.

That afternoon we stop at a large model of Jerusalem to examine what it would've looked like in Jesus' time. This is a picture of the City of David just outside the temple mount. 

After that we went to view the Shrine of the Book where we examined the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scrolls are on display for 3-6 months and then go to "rest" from exposure so that they do not deteriorate. 

That night JT, Marcy, and I headed out on the town to see the sights. On our way, we walked through the market and also saw some unique sites. 

Our final destination was the Wailing Wall. This is our first sight of how important this monument is to the Jewish people. The is approximately 50 feet from where the previous Holy of Holies stood, which is why they view this spot so holy and reverent. Above us there is a Bar Mitzvah going on. 

When we went down below, JT was asked by a jewish man if he had a cigarette. This man's name was Moti and we had a long conversation with him. Jerusalem has some of the nicest people. We enjoyed our conversation with him... which lasted close to 45 minutes :) 

After a long evening strolling the town, we head back to our hotel and crash. Tomorrow's another early morning.