27 January, 2013

Old City Jerusalem

I have heard so many stories and seen countless photos of Jerusalem, so I was able to construct some sort of an idea in my mind of what the city is like. And after spending my first day there, Jerusalem far exceeded my expectations; truly it blew my mind. I fell in love with everything about the city, and I am convinced that every person needs to visit at some point in their life. It's a must.

Our first two days in Jerusalem were in the Old City. It is surrounded by walls and divided into four parts: the Christian, Armenian, Muslim, and Jewish quarter. 

So, early Tuesday morning, we began our lil adventure into the city for the first time :) We entered through Jaffa gate which you can see below.

The fabulous man who teaches us all about Israel, Bill Schlegel ladies and gentlemen.

First steps in Jerusalem :)

We made our way through the Old City's oldest building--the citadel. This giant fortress was used by Herod the Great (a ruler in Jesus's time), and it is quite impressive. Ancient buildings blow my mind!!

The window of the wall of the citadel. It's constructed so the soldiers could destroy any enemies coming their way while providing excellent protection :)

We walked to the very top of the fortress and looked out on the east side of the city.

Inside of a room in the citadel

Small model of the City of David

Here's the most I was most excited about :) we ventured into the alleys of the Old City where all the small shops are. We got to meet Shaban and exchange money!! He is so helpful to IBEX

The Church of the Holy Sepulchre... so beautiful. This is the most probable place for Jesus's crucifixion and burial. 

Tradition says that this is where Jesus's body was laid in preparation for burial, and it is common to see people kissing or rubbing things on the stone.

On our way to enjoy our first shawarma :) the Old City is packed full of people...and they don't mind getting allllll up in your business haha

The Damascus gate

Walking around the wall

Then entered through the Lion's gate (or St. Stephen's gate)

The Pool's of Bethesda. Read John 5. Here Jesus healed a man who was paralyzed for 38 years.

We walked into a church and sang worship... again :) it's a great thing to do. We've got some serious singers in this group so it's basically like angels are descending from heaven when the church is full of their voices

We walked along the east side of the wall, facing the Mount of Olives. It is literally covered in graves.

And we continued to walk..and walk... and walk

And again, back into the city :) walking to Christ Church

And that concluded our first day. It was long and my feet cried but my heart was so glad. Can't thank God enough for this opportunity

Then on Shabbat (Sabbath) we went into the Old City again for church (here it's known as a congregation). Afterwards we were released into Jerusalem to explore it for ourselves!! Too much fun

My roommate Sarah and I got awesome leather sandals from a shop :) 

And with that, we got on the bus and left the beautiful city

Here are some extra pictures from Sarah and Elizabeth :)

Just a quick closing thought, make your way to Jerusalem if you haven't. I'm serious, it's incredible. The history here will blow your mind, and I've got to say, it means the world to me to be able to be here and to walk where my Savior walked and to gain a perspective on Scripture I've never had before. The Bible records real events of real people in real places, it is not just some ordinary book with random historical writings. At this time I am in the land of the Bible to learn more about its preservation and authenticity (and it's life changing abilities, of course). Praise His Name!!