After making it through Hezekiah's tunnel, we went back to the City of David which is inside the gates of Old Jerusalem. Here we saw the remains of the Robinson's Arch which is where Mary, Joseph, and Jesus would have walked to exit the Temple and we stood in front of the three arches of the Temple where they would have entered the Temple.
Here is the entrance to the Temple:
I zoomed out so you could see how tall the 3 arches really are. This is just my observation, but there are three arches to the temple....hmm The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit-three in one, one way to Heaven.
We visited the Western Wall where we stood and prayed at the Wailing Wall. It was interesting to see so many religions represented here. The wall made me even more thankful that we have direct access to God through Jesus.
If you look, you can see my dad placing a prayer request from one of our church members back home in the wailing wall. He is the one wearing the yellow sweatshirt:
Yes, there is a side for the men and the women.
Men can go inside and pray, and the women can too, we just have to go upstairs and look through glass windows. I'm not sure if I was suppose to take a picture, but I did anyone...don't tell!
Okay, I took two pictures. But, I had to get a shot of this. This is where the sacred scrolls are kept:
After returning to the hotel, we quickly brushed our teeth and as the rest of the group was getting ready for dinner, we grabbed a taxi and headed back to the Old City. We had fun shopping in the marketplace. Mr. Incredible bought the girls and I beautiful cashmere scarves made in Israel and then we found an Armenian cafe (picture above) where we dined on a delicious cappuccino and omelet (me), club sandwiches (Rachel and my man), and hamburgers with french fries (Hannah's fave!). Delight!
The next morning, our group headed toward the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock which is now under Muslim control. Don't be fooled by the beauty of this building. The words written across the top are curses to anyone who does not believe as they believe. It is one of the most recognizable places when you look at a map of Jerusalem but from now on, I will look for the golden dome but my eyes will immediately look to the right of it....to the right is where the Holy of holies is located and our feet stood there!
This dome covers the exact same tiles that were in the Holy of holies:
And we got to stand there:
This is the Eastern Gate that is now sealed, oh but one blessed day....
After we walked down to the inside of the Eastern Gate, which is directly across from the Holy of holies, then we made our way to the Pool of Bethesda-what an enormous pool! It is at least one football field long. Our guide explained that directly across from the pool, another place was built for idol worship. The idol was represented with a stick and a serpent, much like the medical symbols we see today. People brought statues of ailing body parts that needed healing to this idol.
The pool of Bethesda:
How amazing that Jesus purposefully healed the blind man at the Pool of Bethesda right next to where the false idol worship would have taken place. Jesus healed this man who had suffered for 38 years in this place to once again show that He is the Great Physician, He is the Healer, and beside Him there is no other! Our eyes filled with tears as Poppie, my father-in-law, read the story from the Bible.
Next, we entered St. Ann's church. This beautiful church has the most amazing ceilings and acoustics! We loved hearing various groups sing and the sound was what I imagine Heaven will sound like one day but probably even better. My dad had asked Mr. Incredible and I to sing here and we were so blessed to do that. The Lord led us to sing, "Wonderful, Merciful Saviour." Words cannot express the great blessing and privilege of being able to sing praises to the King of kings and Lord of lords in this place! Our group joined us in singing, "We Sing Praises to Your Name."
Our group then travelled the Via Dolorasa all the way to the House of Pilot. Our guide explained to us that this was where the soldiers would have played the cruel, "King's Game," with the soldiers...and with our Savior. It was difficult to sit in the very room where our Savior suffered for you and for me. Tears easily flowed as we sat in silence and took in this place (picture below).
We made our journey through the busy streets of the Via Dolorasa, even through the Muslim quarter, where we held on to our girls even more tightly than we had done before. I didn't like this area. We saw the Damascus Gate travelled through the Jappa Gate and then visited David's Citadel.
After the Citadel we visited the Temple Institute. To be quite honest, I really didn't care for this place. The Temple Institute is preparing things for the 3rd Temple that you read about in Revelation. They believe that the Messiah will come when the Temple is built. I wanted so much to tell them that He has already come but it would have been futile. They don't believe Jesus is the Messiah....and how can they miss Him living here? One day the veil will be lifted from their eyes and they will know.
We ate lunch at a Pizza place owned by a Christan family. I loved the feta cheese with black olives and fresh oregano. We shopped for about 15 minutes and then it was time to make our way to the Upper Room.
The beautiful ceilings in the Upper Room:
The Upper Room, or where they believe it to be was not what I had envisioned at all. The ceilings were beautiful but it just didn't have the same feel to it as the other Holy sites we had already visited.
From there we travelled back to the wailing wall where we could go through the Rabbi's Tunnels that were under ground. Thankfully, it wasn't in water like Hezekiah's Tunnel. Inside the tunnels, we saw a rock meant for the Temple, that was left undone/unfinished.
The rock was located at the corner of Antonio's Fortress where Jesus would have walked. Our guide explained that perhaps this was a representation of the stone the builders rejected (Psalm 118:22) that became the Chief cornerstone-Jesus. Pretty amazing thought isn't it?