Saturday, June 15, 2013

Day Three: NT Jerusalem Walk

That's me at the Dormition Abbey
Yesterday we began the day by again taking the route around the southern side of the old city. This time we stopped next to the Dormition Abbey and ascended the roof to get a panoramic view of the Hinnom Valley, Water Ridge, and the Mount of Olives. After getting our bearings, we headed back down a level into what appeared to be a something like an Arabic Chapel of sorts. We were soon told that this was the "upper room" … or at least in memory of the upper room. It was here that Jesus may have had his Last Supper with the disciples and more likely the sight of Pentecost. The upper room described in Scripture (at least for Pentecost) had to be a room of some substantial size. Rooms like this would probably not have been found in the City of David. Rather, the Western Hill contained more wealthy homes where the house could accommodate such a number of people. It was in this location that the a mosaic map discovered in Madaba portrays a significant church in this general location. This church was called the Holy Mother of Sion Church. It is believed that this church was truly the "mother" church as it was here that the Holy Spirit descended that Pentecost morning. According to archeological research, the house had been converted synagogue of sorts … the only problem was that the main torah ark was not facing the Temple Mount like every other synagogue in Jerusalem. Rather this one faced in a slightly different direction … you guessed it: toward Golgotha. As the early church was Jewish, it is logical that they would have made their church to look like a synagogue as this was with what they were familiar. Again, over the centuries things get rebuilt and renamed – especially with the flip-flop between the Crusaders and the Muslims. Eventually the name Sion was attached to the mountain. Now this hill is called Mt. Zion. The actual upper room of Jesus and the early church would have been a couple stories underneath us. Nevertheless, this room commemorates the place and event of this grand day in the life of the church! Later David's tomb became associated with this mount, as he was buried on Mount Zion. However, this was not Mount Zion in the David's era. We did not get to stop and see that sight – something I'll have to do on my own time.

Stone Design outside the Zion Gate
Next we headed back into the city like the day before – through the Zion Gate. Passing the Temple Institute again, we made our way toward the Temple Mount. This time we entered the Archeology Park there on the south side of the Temple Mount. We began by walking through the museum, stopping long enough to watch a short video about what the temple may have looked like from the perspective of a rural Israelite coming to make his Passover sacrifice. Once outside, we were able to get a feel for just how massive a building project Herod had accomplished. We began by walking along the west side under Robinson's Arch. This arch served purely to allow Gentiles into the southern portico. Here Gentiles, specifically Herod and his guests could overlook the magnificent temple. We sat beneath the remains of the arch for a lesson regarding the temple and its design. Although Herod began this grand project, he did not live to see its completion. Even while Jesus was in Jerusalem, the temple had been under construction for forty-six years and was still not finished. Looking towards the wall, one will immediately notice the holes and depressions in the street. These were caused by the Romans in 70 AD by pushing large stones off the wall and onto the city street below. Vern shared that these type of limestone "hold" water. Thus in order to bring the structure down the Romans set the city, specifically the Temple Mount afire by cutting down most the trees in the area as kindling. Once a blaze the stones and water heat up, they would have expanded, cracked, and collapsed. Literally as Jesus prophesied – not one stone was left upon another on the Temple Mount. It is believed that the walls were one-third taller back in the first century than they are today. We then had a few minutes to look around before heading to the southern side of the wall.

Looking down the southern wall of the Temple Mount toward
the Mount of Olives.
This side would have been the main entrance for pilgrims in its day. Today all the gates have been stone walled shut: only the outline of the arches are visible. Upon completing a ritual purification bath and selecting the appropriate sacrifice, the pilgrim would have walked up these stairs, through the gates, into a dark tunnel, and up inside the middle of the mount in full view of the Temple. Turning away from the wall and focusing on the panoramic view of the City of David, the Hinnom Valley, and the Kidron, and the Mount of Olives, is breath taking. Here on the steps leading up to the Temple Mount, we were reminded of Jesus' statement when approaching Jerusalem, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" (Mathew 23:57) Vern shared that in a fire a mother hen would spread out her wings and cover them from the raging fire, giving her life to save that of her chicks. This is exactly what Jesus wanted to do. Certainly, he could foresee their coming destruction. With the Temple Mount standing between his children and the oncoming army, one can almost picture His arms reaching out over the ancient City of David, wanting to protect her from the coming destruction … but you were not willing.

Here is the Southern Pool of Bethesda ... See John 5
Next, we headed out to the Pool of Bethesda near Saint Anne's Church. Interestingly this pool is located close to the Antonia Fortress, and images from the cult of Asclepius have been discovered near the pool. This has led some cast a different light on the account of the lame man of John 5. As verse four is not included in some manuscripts, some have speculated that this was a later addition. If so, this would drastically change one's understand of the passage. When Jesus asks, "Do you want to be made well?" the under tone would be asking, "What in the world are you doing here with the cult of Asclepius? Look at who you are believing in! Go back to the Lord and sin no more! Get up and Walk. … Certainly changes the perspective on this lame man!

Before heading out, we stepped into the Church of Saint Anne. The acoustics in the building are AMAZING! It was built so that even if only one person is singing, it would sound like a choir. Beautiful! I kept thinking of my sweet wife … she could make the place ring with praise!

On the final leg of our journey back to campus, we walked a portion of the Via Delarosa. Although a nice concept to have preserved such stops, in all likelihood, Jesus was tried on the other side of the city which would drastically change His supposed route to the cross. Later that evening I decided to head back out to the Wailing Wall to pray and added a written prayer to the wall for the Jewish people as well as for family and friends. It was a windy evening and a bit difficult to keep my kippa on! It blew off twice; the first time a young Jewish child caught it and ran it back to me. :) It broke my heart to see such devotion and such passion, yet so far away from their Messiah. If only some of us Christians had as much devotion to prayer where we know we have an intimate relationship with the Savior.

Tomorrow we start out with our first bus tour … moving farther out!

Looking down the roof from the Dormition Abbey

Looking down on Cemetery from the Dormition Abbey

The Upper Room

Windows in the Upper Room - Notice they are in Arabic

Torah Ark in the Upper Room - this one faces south
toward Mecca. 

Upper Room

The site of the upper room - although the orginal upper room would be a
few stories below us. This if I remember correctly was built by the
Byzantines and converted by the Muslims.

Ceilings of the Upper Room

In the Upper Room! Come Holy Spirit!

While we walked past, there was a women playing the
harp in front of the David Statue by the Dormition Abbey

Jewish man on the street using his iphone

And a pyramid made of water-bottles ... interesting ...

Had a shot of this one earlier, but found out that there is
1.3 Million of Gold on the Menorah for the Third Temple.

Looking toward the Temple Mount. 

It's the Jerusalem Archaeology Park!

Painting of what this area may have looked like in the first

This is Vern, our guide and professor, giving us an
overview of the area.

Entering the Park ... and there is the Al-Aqsa Mosque behind the Temple

This is the only image that exists of Herod's Temple. This is found on the
back of a coin. ... not much to go off of!

Notice the how the road caves in next to the Temple Mount ...

... and here's why. In 70 AD the Romans toppled the Temple Mount. The
enormous stones coming down, destroyed the road below. 

Here is the remains of Robinson's Arch. It would have spanned from the
stones in front to the ledge sticking out on the wall. The top would have reached
over the wall and into a grand portico where Herod could overlook the Temple
Mount as he was not allowed to actually enter since
he was a Gentile (an Idumean / Edomite).

Again, Look at the size of those rocks! And they get even bigger!
The largest one yet discoverd (within the wall) is 45 feet x 11.5 feet x  an
unknown amount. It is estimated to weigh 175 tons.

Notice how far down these excavations are ... lots of material to remove to get
down here. And the wall would have been even taller ... perhaps even a third taller!

The base of Robinson's Arch to the right. (he was the guy who made the discovery)

This is a stone with an inscription on the left side. This would have been
used by the temple trumpeters. They would have stood in that carved out box on
the left and blown the trumpets to announce the Sabbath and  other holy days.

Large view of the western wall - just south of the wailing wall. Again note
the base of Robinson's Arch and the caved in streets. It is likely that Christ
himself may have walked these streets at some point. Back behind the
excavation wall would have been another bridge - this on spanning all the
way from the Western Hill to the Temple Mount. This smaller bridge was
specifically for the priests. This way they could wash and purify themselves at
home and arrive at the Temple without coming into contact with anything or
anyone unclean - thereby rendering them impure and unfit for service.

Turning to walk down the southern side of the Temple Mount. Again,
the Al-Aqsa Mosque is just inside the wall on the actual Temple Mount.

Al-Aqsa Mosque behind the wall

View of the Mount of Olives from the south side of the Temple Mount.

Looking across the Hinnom Valley from south of the Temple

Here is the location to one of the two main entrances to the
temple. This would have been two doors. Today, only half
of one of the arches is visible. 

Looking across into the old City of David to the South.

Here you can just make out the three other doors to the second main entrance
into the 1st century temple.

Here are some of the remnants of the original steps. 

Notice how some are short steps and other are long steps. This was to
encourage people to walk slowly and reverently as they approached the temple.

The Wailing Wall ... Will be back here later.

Just entered into the Muslim Quarter

Entering the grounds of Saint Ann's Church and the Pool of Bethesda. 

Remains from a Byzantine basilica overlooking the older pool/s of Bethesda.
There were two - Northern and Southern pools. 

Cistern between the pools

Church of Saint Anne's

Wow! What amazing acoustics! 

This video only captures a few seconds of one of the ladies singing in our group. I accidentally hit the stop button just before the louder chorus ... bummer.

Image of Mary of to the right of the chapel.

Image in the basement of the chapel

Garden's outside Saint Anne's Church

Here is Stage 1 of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa

I believe this was Stage II

Here is where according to tradition that Pilot said "Behold the Man"
However in all reality this probably took place closer to Herod's Palace.

Yep, we're on the Via Dolorosa ... 

Mosque along the way (we are in the Muslim Quarter)

Stage Six along the Via Dolorosa ... apparently I missed a few.

Stage Seven along the Via Dolorosa ... notice how the brick
different on the ground too.

This evening there was a race though Jerusalem. When up on the roof of JUC
to grap a quick shot of one of the cars. 

Approaching the Wailing Wall in the evening.

View across from the Wailing Wall, 

Here's were I spent some time praying. When leaving the wall, one is to walk
away backwards out of respect.

Me at the Western Wall ... kippas are complementary and required ;)

Jewish Wedding

Here are those water bottles again at night!

Jewish gentleman singing on the street.

Student Lounge at JUC

Student Lounge at JUC

Student Lounge at JUC

This one's out of order ... me back at Archaeology Park.

Saw this tee shirt while walking in the Muslim Quarter.
Made me Smile :)

No comments:

Post a Comment