A Travellerspoint blog


29UploadedFile0.jpg 23UploadedFile1.jpg 13UploadedFile2.jpg Today (Friday) we drove north from Jerusalem to Samaria and Mount Gerizim. We had a fascinating visit with a Samaritan priest in his synagog (shown in photo with the scroll of the Torah). There are only 750 Samaritans left, still holding to the very conservative faith and interpretations, primarily teaching (as they did in Bible times) that true worship is not to be done in Jerusalem but on Mount Gerizim (2 Kings 17:27-31). From there we went to what is strongly believed to be the actual site of Jacob's well (John 4), which is now under a beautiful new (completed in 2005) Greek Orthdox church (photo). We actually were able to get water from the deep well under the church (photo). Then, after a visit to a hospital of the Epicopalian Church and lunch, we stopped in Bethany (al-Eizariya today), where we saw what is quite likely the tomb of Lazarus (and the Roman Catholic Church of St. Lazarus, built again, above the spot of the tomb). The church was designed by the amazing Italian Antonio Barluzzi (1884-1960), who is responsible for many of the Holy Land churches we have seen, including The Church of All Nations at Gethsemene, The Church of the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, restoration of the Church of the Flqgellatin in Old Jerusalem, the beatiful Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem, The Dominus Flevit (Jesus wept) on the Mount of Olives, and the Church of the Beatitudes in Galilee.

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Three Faiths, One City

22UploadedFile1.jpg 12UploadedFile2.jpg 9UploadedFile3.jpg 6UploadedFile4.jpg We started today by walking from the college to the Temple Mount, where we saw the Dome of the Rock (photo) and the al-Aqsa Mosque. For Sunni Muslims, the Mount is considered the third holiest site in Islam. The dome is built very near to the spot where the Jewish temple was most likely built. After discussing the importance of the site for Muslims, we moved to the area of the Western Wall (photo), the holiest site for Jews. While there we saw several Bar Mitzvah celebrations (they take place there two days each week). They were exciting celebrations - what a thrill it must be to have that take place in Jerusalem (photo). We then visited the area south the of the temple site, where we were able to stand on the very stairs that alll Jews (including Jesus) used to climb up to the temple (photo). We had a great lunch in the Lutheran Guest House, which is right in the Old City, near the Church of the Resurrection (Holy Sepulchre). There is almost universal agreement, both from Christians and non-Christians, that this ancient church is on the exact site where Jesus was crucified, his body prepared for burial, and the tomb in which he was buried. Even though this was our third time there, it was very meaningful, and we may go back on some free time next week. We also visited the Syrian Orthodox church, built above what is believed to have been the "upper room" (everything around here has several layers of buildings or churches built on top of the remains of previous churches which were destroyed).

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Jesus Wept

4UploadedFile5.jpg 21UploadedFile1.jpg 8UploadedFile3.jpg 5UploadedFile4.jpg Following a lecture on the "spiritual and politcal streams in Jerusalem in Jesus' time," we returned to the Mount of Olives and Bethphage, from where began the Palm Sunday entrance (photo). From there we walked down toward Jerusalem, stopping at the "Dominus Flevit", a Roman Cathlic church, built in the shape of a tear, marking the place where Jesus wept over Jerusalem (photo). We then walked down to the Garden of Gethsemene, where there are five olive trees believed to be 1800 years old (photo). We also saw what is said to be Mary's tomb. After lunch we went to Mount Zion, location of the Last Supper and Pentecost (an interesting story there, too long to tell here). Then we saw the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu (cockcrow) (photo), which is also believed to have been the location of the high priest Caiaphas' palace, where Jesus was questioned, and finally we saw the caves here Jesus (and Peter and Paul later) was probably tortured and kept overnight,

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Hot day in the desert

27UploadedFile0.jpg 3UploadedFile5.jpg 3UploadedFile7.jpg Our Tuesday began with a visit to one of the most beautiful churches in the Holy Land - The Church of the Transifguration on Mount Tabor. Built on the site of a pagan altar from 3000 BC and a sixth-century Byzantine church which was later destroyed, this beautiful church, built in the 1920's, marks the area on which it is believed that Christ was transfigured (photo). We also saw the place where it is believed that King Ahab's palace was located, when Jezebel had their neighbor, Naboth, killed in order to get his vineyard for the king (1 Kings 21). The photo shows the beautiful land, part of which is still kept as a vineyard. Then we saw the site of Jesus' baptism - we had seen the site a few weeks ago from the Jordanian side of the river, and today we saw it from the Israeli side. We drove through a lot of the desert and stopped at Jericho for lunch. We noted some of the sites there from the bus - it was too hot to walk in that desert today. Finally, I got to thinking about what it must have been like for the Children of Israel to get on and off the bus ten times a day every day for forty years!

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Golan Heights and Sea of Galilee

UploadedFile12.jpg 1UploadedFile9.jpg 1UploadedFile10.jpg 1UploadedFile11.jpg What another amazing day! We started out with a trip to the Temple of Pan, thought to be the very site where Jesus was walking when he asked Peter, "Who do you say that I am?" The theology connected with the site is amazing! The springs in this location also are the beginning of the formation of the Jordan River. After this we drove across the Golan Heights and learned much about this Syrian land which is under Israeli occupation (like the Gaza Strip and the Western Bank). As we stopped along the way, we were about 35 miles from Damascus, and in the photo, taken from the Golan Heights, can be seen the United Nations area in front, and beyond the trees is Syria. We were also close to Lebanon, but travel is not allowed between Israel and Lebanon. We saw several Israeli military areas, and an area of land that had a sign warning that there were mines in the area. But the landscape of the area is very rich and green, part of the reason for the Israeli occupation. The second picture is of the beautiful fruit at a roadside market we visited in the area. After lunch at "Peter's Restaurant" (photo), we had our ride on the Sea of Galilee, which is always a meaningful experience (even though this time it was more of a "party boat" than our previous trips there). Before dinner a few of us walked the fifteen minutes from our hotel to the Church of the Mulitiplication of the Bread (a Benedictine monastery - photo) and attended the beautiful evening (German) vesper service.

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