Our trip to Israel

Jerusalem - The Holy City

Jaffa Gate. Our first day in Jerusalem, we couldn't wait until morning to go into the city. The Sabbath had just started and we decided to go to the Western (Wailing) Wall. We walked from our hotel down to the Jaffa Gate to begin our adventure. Notice the sign just under the "Citadel Souvenirs" sign. Yep, that's right. The first thing you encounter inside the walled city is the "Money Changers."

The next morning we began our trek from atop the Mount of Olives. We're looking across the Kidron Valley at the Holy City. From here we walked the most likely path that Jesus would have taken on that first Palm Sunday morning. The path he would have walked everyday that week going from Bethany to the temple to teach and to heal.

In this olive grove on the Mount of Olives, it's easy to believe that the trees could well be 2000 years old. They are thick trunked and look ancient and hallowed. Within the modern-day walls, the traffic could be a thousand miles or years away. Time seemed endless as we sat for a meditation and contemplated trying to stay awake for one hour to pray with our Lord Jesus.

Once we walked up the Kidron Valley and entered the Dung Gate we began the famous Via Dolorosa walk - The Way of the Cross. This is the place were Jesus traditionally was condemned. It was time for lunch, so we stopped at Ecce Homo where we were served a delightful meal at the Convent. We also visited the underground stone pavement believed to have been from the Roman Forum built by Hadrian in the 2nd century C.E. The stations located along the Via Dolorosa appear as everything from small inconspicuous signs to detailed artwork of various kinds.

While at Ecce Homo, we were able to go up on the rooftop to look around the city. This view is looking East from the convent. You can see the double towers flanking the statue of the Virgin and child atop the Notre Dame Hotel where we were staying. Distances here were more on a par with Rhode Island rather than the vastness of Texas. I kept being amazed at how close everything was. (Although I admit, even though the walk from the Mt. of Olives is "do-able," I would prefer not to have to walk it daily.)

We finished our walk along the Via Dolorosa in the traditional fashion by visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The last five Stations of the Cross are located in the Holy Sepulchre Basilica. 10) The stripping of His garments,

11) Nailing Him to the cross,

12) Jesus' death on the cross,

13) Taking him down from the cross and

14) Laying him in the tomb.

Nearby is a Franciscan chapel in the Basilica of the Resurrection.

We also visited the Garden Tomb. These are simply another example of two places vying for the honor of being recognized as "the" place where Christ was buried. Both places claim to be the place where Jesus was hung on the cross and where the tomb is thought to be located. I'm not sure why it seems to be accepted that these two places were in close proximity. From my reading of the Bible I had been under the impression that they were separated by some distance.

At both the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and at the Garden Tomb we were shown places hewn in the rock that is said to be the tomb of Jesus. Each was very commercialized, hard to look at and get any real feel for what it should be like. During our travels, we came across this example of a tomb and a rolling stone designed to block the entrance. Hewn out of the open rock, we began to understand that it didn't have to be large to easily accommodate a body or for the stone to be too heavy for two women to move.

Go back to page 4 of Israel pictures.

Go on to page 6 of Israel pictures.

Go back to the Israel index.

Go to Nan's homepage.