I toyed with two titles to summarize my third day in Israel. The alternative was Walt Disney, Rod Blagojevich, and Neil Armstrong. However my husband suggested I should probably leave the Holy Land before making any statements that make me look like an irreverent and ego centric American.
The reality is that my third day in Israel and first full day in Jerusalem was filled with thousands of years of history to the history, stories of strategic maneuvers and conquests, and sacrificial love that there is no way I can possibly capture it here. But here are some highlights:
To fully understand the incredible architectural vision and implementation of the Temple Mount, my favorite Israeli tour guide had to use a 3D model to provide an overview of it. The simplistic view is that Herod the Great literally moved a piece of a mountain to put a stone "box" upside down on top of it to provide a flat surface upon which to build a temple.
The architectural wonder is enhanced by the sacrificial wonder of the men and women who believe in its healing power by praying by the small section of the wall that is exposed and faces what is believed to be the holiest place of the old and original Temple. Since Orthodox Jewish men and women cannot pray together, the men pray outside while the women pray inside underneath the ground and directly below the men.
King Hezekiah, in an attempt to build a fortress around his city and the mountain to keep his people safe with access to water, had two teams build a tunnel. One started at one side of the mountain; the other team the other side of the mountain and miraculously they connected into what is now known as Hezekiah's Tunnel. If you click on the hyperlink, you will see what the tunnel looks like in the brochures. The reality is that we spent over 20 minutes walking the tunnel, in water, some of it knee deep. This picture the right is my real view. And yes, my camera lens cap was off. I am thankful for the iPhone flashlight and that I didn't drop my phone while walking!
Mount of Olives
Our day ended at the Mount of Olives where we walked the steep road that Jesus traveled as he entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. We ended at the place where the Catholic Church believes Jesus sat and prayed that "this cup be taken from him." My Jewish and Evangelical Christian tour guides were quick to point out that there is no we could ever really know where Jesus stopped to pray and at one point they both asked the other to "do the tour" of the garden and church of Gethsemane, as if they didn't want to own the knowledge of it. This was just after a discussion of different perspectives regarding the evolution of the early Christian church.
I walked into the church of Gethsemane quite mentally and physically exhausted and asked the Lord for some assistance in making sense of it all and "who was right." The good Lord placed a peacefulness in my heart after a long day and all I heard was: "Don't worry about it Michelle; just follow me."
And that, I pray I can do.