Monday, May 19
We left the Dan Jerusalem Hotel at 7:30am to the Southern Steps which was the main entrance to the Temple during the Second Temple Period. While there we had a time of personal prayer. The steps are varied to slow you down as you enter Jerusalem. These steps had been refurbished. We walked through the Western Wall Tunnel that runs along the hidden continuation of the Western Wall. Inside the tunnel is the closet spot accessible to Jews to where the Second Temple “Holy of Holies” once stood. The tunnels ave become a site of prayer and spirituality because of that. We overlooked the Cardo which is an exceptionally wide colonnaded street running through the heart (or cardo) of Jerusalem. We began the Via Delarosa beginning at Pilate's Hall where Jesus' journey to the cross began. We walked along the Stations of the Cross ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This is the church that was built over the sites some believe to be where Jesus was crucified, his body prepared, and buried. There are five different denominations that disagree over the ownership of this very old church. We then walked through the Armenian quarter into the Jewish quarter. The Jewish quarter was much newer because it had been destroyed. There was a beautiful new Synagogue therei. We left through Zion's Gate (Mount Zion), which is still riddled with bullet holes from the 6-day War.
We had lunch in a park, making our own pita bread sandwiches. We spent a little time in the Israel Museum which is ranked among the world's leading art and archaeology museums. Among the highlights is the Shrine of the Book, which houses the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Model of Jerusalem in the Second Temple Period. Our very last stop was the Garden Tomb (where others (and us) believe is where Jesus was crucified and buried. We had communion and sang “Jesus Paid It All” together as a team. A very special time. We and headed back to our hotel listening to the song “I Walked Today Where Jesus Walked”. We packed up, had our final meal together, and thanked our guide Boaz, driver, Doron, hosts Ken & Barb Lason and leaders Roy & Lynette Fruits. What an incredible team. We were blessed.
We made it through all the security checks at the airport and are ready to board the plane. We fly through the night to Philadelphia. Then to Minneapolis. This truly was the “trip of a lifetime” and we all feel that we will be forever changed by our time here. Shalom.