First for all thank you for all who are reading this blog and thank you for your comments as it inspires me to blog when I might not otherwise. We are having 14-hour days, touring and lectures. We walked through the Damascus Gate to the Temple Mount. We walked on the massive terrace surrounding the two Mosques, one of which has the gold dome. Very few people are allowed to enter inside and you have to prove that you are Muslim. The building is 7th century and is most likely built on top of the Holy of Holies of the original Jewish Temple. The whole area does feels holy almost like the world’s heart is beating beneath the stone pavement. The world’s lowest place as in below sea level is the Dead Sea. Some people say that it is the navel of the earth so the Temple are must be the heart!
We then went to The Pool of Bethesda where one of the healing miracles was said to occur. There are ruins but it doesn’t look like what I expected. We also went to the court where Pontius Pilate tried Jesus and what was believed to be the actual pavement although it had been relocated to higher elevation.
Then we toured the Southern Wall excavations which have only been recovered in the past two decades. We walked the actual stairs that Jesus walked on! The smallest stone of Herod’s wall is 2 1/2 tons! We saw one cornerstone that was 38′ long and about six feet deep and six feet tall!
The afternoon sun reflected off the wall, it was magical.
We were surrounded by about two hundred Israeli troops with machine guns were doing their afternoon drills. They were segregated by gender. Most were 17 or 18, looking too young, too awkward to have a machine gun on their shoulder.
The other thing I want to share is that Israel and Jerusalem are very hilly. Jerusalem is a series of mountain tops and two valleys. Its geography and topography help me to better relate to the biblical narrative.
Tomorrow we go to a couple of museums including the Holocaust Museum then we have a Thanksgiving dinner together. We have much to be thankful for and Shalom to you.
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