Today we left Jerusalem for the last time on this trip.
This fantastic city of history and images both from an archeological and from a spiritual standpoint is again etched in my mind as we leave Jerusalem. My favorite spots on this trip were the Western Wall, the Garden Tomb (and Golgotha), the Southern steps of the Old Temple, and the Mount of Olives/Gethsemane. The Western Wall is just feet away from where the Ark of the Covenant sat in the Holy of Holies inside the Temple of the Jews. Praying there beside Hasidic Jews, Gentiles, adults and children, men and women, felt close to God and far from the distractions of life.
From the Mount of Olives, one can see nearly the entire Eastern Side of the City. The Temple Mount, the City of David, the Kidron Valley, etc. You can also see the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus presumably prayed and then submitted to the Father for the act of crucifixion. Some of the trees are thought to be over 2000 years old, and could have been in the garden when Jesus prayed.
The Garden Tomb is always a powerful experience, thinking that this could actually be the spot where Jesus was laid after His crucifixion.
The Southern Steps of the Old Temple is the place where Jesus gave the promise of John 7:37–39 (NKJV): 37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified. Some of the very steps where Jesus stood to say those words are still among these steps. How powerful to walk and stand where Jesus did!
We also visited Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We traveled to Masada, where the Jewish rebels staved off a contingent of the Roman army for two to three months before losing that battle on the day of the Passover feast. We saw the location of En Gedi, where David stayed with his mighty men. We ended the day at the Dead Sea, with some floating in the thick, salty waters, before we traveled north to our accommodations in Upper Galilee. What a day this has been!