17 February, 2013

Jerusalem: New Testament

Everytime I visit Jerusalem, I'm amazed at how big the city is and how much diversity exists inside those city walls. On this field study, I went to parts I've never seen before even though I've spent several full days in Jerusalem. There is always more to see here. I know I say this on every post but... I love this place.

This was our last Jerusalem field study. We studied the history of the New Testament period.

We got on the bus. It was a cold, rainy day in Israel! 

Which made it a perfect day to bother my roommate :) (actually every day is a perfect day to bother her. I <3 her!!!!)

First stop: Temple Mount

Everything was wet and the lighting was soft and I just loved listening to Chris McKinny (our Archaeology professor) explain the importance of this place.

The Temple Mount is one of the single most important places to the Muslim religion. But that doesn't mean it has lost the importance it once held for Christians or Jewish people. The first (destroyed in 586 BC) and second (destroyed in 70 AD) Temple used to stand on this very ground. The bedrock of Mount Moriah is located underground, the place where Abraham went to offer Isaac.

2 Samuel 24 recounts the importance of this location and how it became a holy site. God sent a plague over Israel as discipline, and when it was about to reach and destroy Jerusalem, He stopped it. King David then built an altar here and made a sacrifice to the Lord for sparing their destruction.

A view of the Mount of Olives

Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third most holy place in the Muslim religion

The Dome of the Rock, a very important shrine to Muslims. Only a Muslim can enter inside. It is said to be built on the place that Mohammad ascended into heaven in order to receive the instructions for prayer so that he may bring them back down to earth. The original location of the Dome of the Rock was actually where the Jewish Temple was (prior to its destruction in 70 AD).

It was all amazing to learn. There is so much pivotal history here.

Next stop: Jerusalem Archaeological Park, which is still being excavated. The findings can be dated to the Iron Age (1200-586 BC). There was a ton of architecture from Herod the Great here. That crazy guy (no really, he's like the worst. he did a great deal of bad things when he ruled..like murdering his own family) built walls very uniquely so it is easy to identify a Herodian wall.

I didn't get many pictures, because it was wet and cold and my feet and hands were numb. I think that's  pretty clear in this photo... :)

Walked to another museum.. this was one was interesting because it encased real remains of second temple period Jerusalem living quarters. They date to before 70 AD, so Jesus’s time essentially. We were able to see how a home would have looked to a high priest and rich families in this time.

And then a dirty sneaky cat found its inside and hung out with us :)

This next stop was really fun. Zedekiah's Caves. It used to be a small natural cave until it was enlarged into a stone quarry which extended under the houses of the city. It's huuuuuuge! way too much fun to explore and climb on everything.

I take videos often here, and I don't know why I haven't thought about putting them up!
So.. please enjoy this one :) hhahaha. <3 you becks

Then a magical thing happened..the band Stella was born. The legendary musicians Becky Free and Ben Harris. The cover for their album "Cave Sounds"

Across the street from Zedekiah's Caves is the location of the Garden Tomb which is repudiated to be the tomb Jesus’s body was laid in. Although The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is the most probable location of Jesus’s death and burial, it is much harder to “get in the mood” there because it’s a big immaculate building and there are tourists everywhere. 
I walked around the quiet, peaceful garden then went into the tomb that was supposedly Jesus’s. I sat down on a bench nearby and read John 19-20 to myself. My soul was shaken to gain a better understanding of how real the event of my Savior's death and resurrection was. The world changed on the day the stone rolled away from that carved opening and Jesus walked out. Death could not hold Him. I live because of this.

And of course at this point I figured it was time for a bathroom pic. :) smiles4salvation! hahahaah. but really guys

Alright so this next part was just undeniably wonderful and very much needed. We were released for dinner and found our way to a place called David's Kitchen in the Old City and I just about died. I loved it!!!

We told the owner that we were from Yad HaShmona and he smiled big and said "Jerusalem welcomes you!" We ordered hummus and he brought out some complimentary (and outrageously delicious) falafel balls. That hummus was unlike any I've ever had. SO GOOD

Then we walked around Jerusalem at night and I fell in love with the city even more.

And I finally finally made my first visit to Aroma!

That Chai Tea Latte will change your life, no doubt

Finally, our last stop: the Western Wall tunnel. We were under a whole city inside these tunnels, but the cool thing was that there are pillars, rocks, walls, cisterns, and aqueducts that date back to Jesus's time.

We began walking through. Here we are touching the base of the Temple Mount, which is the bedrock of Mount Moriah that I mentioned earlier. COOL!!!

This exact pillar was standing during the time that Jesus would have walked through the city. Come on. I can't believe I get to experience this stuff.

Standing over an aqueduct built by Herod the Great.

Night time in the Jewish quarter

So that was our day. Longest field study yet (began making our lunches at 7am and made it back to the Moshav at 8:45pm) but soo good.

Here are a few pictures that for some reason didn't make it into the last post (Jerusalem: Old Testament)

We walked to a part Jerusalem of where the City of David would have stood. There are a few tombs on this rock outcropping, and one is most likely the tomb of King David.

Climbed into David's tomb.. it's about nine feet high so the girls had to be pulled in by the guys hahah

And obviously, when you're in David's Tomb you have to take a photo like this

That wraps up our Jerusalem trips. Stay tuned for our explorations of the rest of the land of Israel ;) thanks everyone for all your prayers and support!