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Israel, Day 7

Today was the first day of the convention, so today, tomorrow, and Weds, we'll be at the convention in the AM, tour Jerusalem sites in the afternoon, and back to the convention in the evenings.

Today we entered Jerusalem through the "sheep" or "lions'" gate, on the eastern wall in the Muslim quarter. Today's journey on the "Via Delarosa" (the way of suffering) is in the Arab section of the OC (as are most sites to tell you the truth).

Pool of Bethesda

The name of this location is actually Bet Hesed, which means "house of mercy." It originally was outside of the city walls in Jesus' day. It was a water reservoir, collecting rainwater for the water supply of the city.

As a Christian, I'm most familiar with this site being the placed where Jesus healed the lame man. Jesus healed the man while in Jerusalem for one of the feasts (I need to research which one it would have been). I can't imagine how packed this pool would have been as people made a special trip to this site during the feasts and brought their sick and lame loved ones to this location where the "waters are stirred", to this "house of mercy."

St Anne's Chapel
Next to the Bethesda site, this chapel has the most amazing acoustics! We sang a worship song here and gave praise to the Lord. These very few minutes were some of my favorite on the trip.

Antonia Fortress - "Ecce Homo"
Home to the Praetorium and the Roman garrison, this is the site where Jesus, beaten and with the crown of thorns on his head, was presented to the crowd with Pilate's announcement, "Ecce homo" ("Behold the man").Pilate's announcement to the crowd, "Behold the man." We visited what is a very viable location for the actual site of his scourging at the hands of the Roman garrison. We were able to stand on the actual street that existed at the time of these events. The fortress would be at the northern end of the western wall.

The High Priest for Israel (Caiaphas at the time of Jesus), was appointed by the Roman governor - another means to control the Jews by the Romans. The garments for the priests were actually kept here at this military location. Interestingly, the symbol for the Praetorium garrison was a scorpion. It was carved into the stone here. This brings a different perspective to Jesus words found here. Snakes symbolize satanic oppression. Scorpions could be referring to political oppression.

At this site, I was impressed with Jesus' fearlessness contrasted by Pilate's cowardly capitulation to men and Caiaphas's fear of his power and position being threatened.

Via Dolorosa

Developed by Franciscans in the 14th CE, this walk which supposedly follows Jesus route from Antonia's Fortress to Golgotha is now entombed by shops and merchants (and even an internet cafe). This is a tradition only as any route would have been destroyed many times over with Jerusalem itself.

There is debate about the actual location of Golgotha or "Calvary." Most scholars would agree that the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. This "church" (which actually houses 4 different congregations) has a memorial which one can enter and walk down into the site of where Jesus was crucified and buried.

Although most evangelicals prefer the aesthetics of the Garden Tomb area (I'll describe it after visiting it tomorrow), most scholars believe tCotHS is authentic location. This area was once a quarry and would have been well outside the city walls at the time of Jesus.

Today was a "no shorts" tour day. Many of the "holy sites" in the OC require the knees to be covered as well as women's shoulders. It was another hot one. It made me wish I has bought some of those capris for men (even though I know how stupid I would have looked in them).

That's it for today...When I get home, I'm going to think about how I would put a tour together. I'd like to bring a tour here in the fall of 2009.

PS: To view all our photos from today, CLICK HERE

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 23, 2007 9:11 PM.

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