Today we walked to the Temple Mount. This is where the temple stood and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. Today the Dome of the Rock, a Islamic shrine is located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Muslims come to pray and area is all Islamic.
We had to go through security and there are a lot of restrictions. Women have to be covered, couples, can’t touch, need to be quiet, and no religious jewelry. Two women in our group had too much leg showing so had to put on skirts. The area is policed by the Israeli army. All the buildings tourist can no longer enter because of terror attempts.
This is where the new temple will be built of which plans are in the making. We discussed some of the activities of Jesus here. At the temple Jesus cast out all who were buying and selling there, he overturned the tables of money changers Jesus also sat and learned at the temple and taught there also. He also healed the blind and lame who came to him at the temple.
We then went to the Western Wall also known as the wailing wall. This wall is a remnant of the wall surrounding the Second Holy Temple that stood upon the Temple Mount for approximately 500 years before its destruction almost two millennia ago. The Bible calls this place “Mount Moriah.” This is a place of prayer, Judaism’s most holy site. People come here to pray and touch the wall. This is a place where all humanity may also embrace, finding peace, harmony, and divine beauty in their diversity. They can write their prayer request on a piece of paper and stick in the cracks in the stone wall. There is a side for men on the left and women on the right Men must have their heads covered.
Jewish families celebrate their son’s Bar Mitizvah here. This is a Jewish ritual, at the age of 13, boys become of age and accountable for their actions. All around the area families are walking with their son, balloons, music, singing, Isaraeli Star of David banners as they approach the wall. They give out candy and is truly a celebration.
Almost all of us went to the wall to pray. I too put a few prayer requests on a piece of paper and placed in the wall. I have seen this on tv and the news and never thought I would be standing at the wall. I believe in prayer and Jesus too prayed many times to his Father. The Garden of Gethsemane and the Western wall are two of the holiest sites I visited.
We then walked to the subterranean Western Wall tunnels to walk at what was street level in the time of Jesus. The tunnel at some points was narrow. A part of the Western Wall is also down there and people do pray there also. There is a synagogue being built down there. You see many people walking through the area. Truly a different experience to walk this area of where people of Jesus time walked.
While walking we stopped to have coffee, tea or juice at a coffee place. This was at a small cave and you sat on cushions. Their coffee is strong so I had a glass of pomegranate juice freshly made.
After the coffee stop we made our way through the Jewish quarter. Some of the area we walked was the Via Dolorosa believed to be the path Jesus walked to his crucifixion. I pictured Christ carrying his cross to his death for my and all men’s sins. We passed through an art gallery where they had beautiful art depicting all the events and related to Christ and his ministry. We then stopped for lunch at an Armenian restaurant.
We then walked back to the guest house. A lot of walking and stairs was glad I rested on Sunday.