Today (Sunday) we spent the entire day in Jerusalem, walking around the “old city,” through the Arab Quarter and also the Jewish Quarter. There is a marked difference in the way the two sections of Jerusalem look. The Arab Quarter has streets that are very old, often covered and extremely narrow. People have little shops that sell everything from religious trinkets to whole slaughtered lambs and goats!
The Jewish Quarter appears much newer and the streets are often wider becasue much the Jewish Quarter was destroyed when the Jordanian Army forced the Jews out of that section of the city and destroyed much of it in 1948. Israel recaptured Jerusalem during the 1967 war and rebuilt that section of the city.
We went down underneath the old city to view part of the foundation wall built by Herod the Great which was not destroyed by the Romans in A.D.70. One of the remaining stones weighed more than 800 tons. But that was part of the wall which was standing when Jesus walked through the city.
We visited some traditional sites in the city (Church of the Holy Sepulchre; Via Delorosa, etc.). These are places that supposedly mark the place where Jesus was buried or where He walked to Golgotha. Most of it is speculation promoted by the Orthodox or Catholic Church, yet the Holy Sepulchre site may actually be very close to the place where Jesus was buried.
One of the most amazing things we saw today was a new excavation site which is adjacent to the Wailing Wall. There archeologists have uncovered parts of walls and dwellings that date back to the time when Hezekiah was King ofJudah (Isaiah 37; 2 Kings 18:13ff)!
The day ended with a tour of the Holocaust Museum and that was very sobering.
Tomorrow, more time in Jerusalem and perhaps some time for shopping. Then we catch a very early flight out of Tel Aviv for home on Tuesday morning.
Blessing to you all.
Pastor Steve and Mary