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Western Wall

Two Days of Touring

Two Days of Touring


Shalom everyone! I apologize for not posting anything last night. When you lead a tour, sometimes there are things that you need to do to make sure everything is set up and ready to go.

We started yesterday morning at the top of the Mount of Olives. After taking our group picture, we were able to view this beautiful city and discuss many of the Biblical events that happened within the view. We then walked down the Mount of Olives to the traditional site of the Garden of Gethsemane.

The City of David was next on our agenda. After viewing the possible remains of the palace of King David, we walked down to the Gihon Spring. Most of our group then walked through Hezekiah's Tunnel, which still has water flowing through it 2700 years after it was built.

After lunch at Ramat Rachel Kibbutz, we drove to Bethlehem. We stopped by Kando's Store and viewed the largest Dead Sea Scroll jar that has been preserved. From here, we went to the Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of the birth of Jesus.

This morning, we started at the Western Wall. This Jewish holy site is always a highlight of the tour. Everyone had the opportunity to touch the wall and have their picture made in front of it.

We then went through the Western Wall Tunnels to view some of the huge stones that comprise this massive building effort by King Herod.

After a stop by the Pools of Bethesda, we walked the Via Dolorosa to the Church of he Holy Sepulture. Tourism is very high here in Israel, and the church was no exception. I estimate that the queue to see inside the crypt was at least three hours.

It was now lunchtime and I wanted to visit one of my favorite places, Jacob's Pizza near the Jaffa Gate. I mentioned it to the group, and before I knew it, nearly all of the group was following me to taste this homemade pizza. It was delicious and I'm glad that everyone enjoyed it.

After eating, we walked through the Spice Market and saw different sites in the Jewish Quarter. We ended the day by touring the Davidson Archeological Museum and sitting on original temple steps from the first century. A great way to end the day.

Tomorrow, we will head to one of my favorite places in the land, the Shephelah.

Until then, shalom.


To read other blogs about the tour, here are a couple of links:

Jeremy Dehut -

Jane Britnell -

Wonderful Stones

Wonderful Stones


As you tour Jerusalem, it is easy to see the fingerprints of King Herod everywhere. King Herod was a terrible man. He would stop at nothing to strengthen his political position. And, just a fleeting glance at the other members of the Herodian Dynasty shows that he taught his wicked ways well to his family. But, he was also a builder. And, not just an ordinary builder. He built structures that have literally stood the test of time. The picture at the top of this blog is of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. King Herod and the people under his oversight built this wall nearly 2000 years ago. And yet, it still stands.

But take a closer look. See those fine etchings around the borders of many of the stones? King Herod had those etchings cut as well. It wasn't enough for King Herod to just build a wall. He had to make it look nice as well. And, when you look at this, it is hard not to be impressed. Even Jesus' own apostles were impressed:

And as he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” - Mark 13:1

But, Jesus was quick to bring them back down to earth. He responded by saying:

And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” - Mark 13:2

And, of course Jesus was right. In 70AD, the temple and most of Jerusalem was destroyed.

The apostles were so in awe of the physical structures that King Herod had built, they forgot what a terrible man he was. They forgot that King Herod had once ordered all babies of an entire city killed in hopes that one of those babies would have been the man that they were currently talking to.

I can relate to the apostles. Often, I found myself dazzled by an actor's performance in a movie, or a sportsman's performance on the field of play and I forget that they are often not very good people.

I need to always remember to keep looking at Jesus and be in awe of everything He has done.

Jerusalem In Winter

Jerusalem In Winter


Earlier today, I saw a fantastic picture of Jerusalem with snow on the ground. The picture was credited to Duby Tal (Albatross) and was taken last March. Often, we think of the Bible lands as being an arid place. This is not true. Even places like Jerusalem experience different types of weather as the seasons change. In looking at this picture, I am reminded of a couple of verses in the Book of John.

Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. - John 10:22,23

2012 Israel Trip - Day Nine

2012 Israel Trip - Day Nine


Today, we spent the whole day in the Old City. Anytime you spend time in the Old City, you have to keep reminding yourself of where you are and what the city looked like during Biblical times. That is not easy to do. Even if you just allow yourself to be immersed in all of the cultures you are surrounded by, it is a day that you will not forget. We started the day earlier than usual because we wanted to get on the Temple Mount as soon as we could. Muslims are in control of the Temple Mount and visitors are only allowed on the platform during certain times of the week. Once we made it on the Temple Mount, you are reminded of so many Bible stories. This is where Solomon first built a temple to God. Centuries later, Herod the Great expanded the Temple Mount and rebuilt the temple. This is where Jesus turned over the tables of the money changers. This is where Paul and John healed a blind man as he sat by the gate called Beautiful. This is where Peter preached the sermon in Acts 2. What a great way to start your day.

We exited the Temple Mount and walked the roads of the Old City along the Via Dolorosa. The Via Dolorosa is the path that Jesus walked as he was led from Pilate to Golgotha. It is a very interesting walk, but of course if rooted more in tradition rather than actual history.

The Via Dolorosa ends at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. This ancient church was originally built in the 3rd Century and traditionally stands above the locations of Golgotha and the tomb. There are many interesting things about the building itself, but also it is very sad. You see many things that would not be appropriate among people that call themselves followers of Jesus. With that being said, I believe that the church actually sits on the original location. In that case, it is interesting.

After lunch, we walked through the Christian and Jewish Quarters and ended up at the infamous Western Wall. As is always the case, there were hundreds of Jewish people praying at the wall. This is the closest that they can get to the original location of the temple. We saw many men and women praying and also a couple of school classes conducting their sessions. Even though I may not agree with everything that they believe spiritually, there is a lot that I can learn from their dedication to what they do believe.

Our final stop of the day was at the southern end of the Temple Mount where we sat on the original First Century steps that led to the temple. It is very humbling to think that I was walking up the same steps that Jesus walked up on many occasions.

As you can tell, it was another great day. Tomorrow, we visit the Israel Museum, which is now allowing photographs!

Until then...