Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Day One: Jerusalem Walk

JUC Gardens in rear of campus
And we're off to a running start! Classes started at 8:00 this morning. I've found class will normally start around seven and run until supper time, seven days a week with only two and a half days off in the next three weeks! Wow! A packed schedule. Even being so busy, there just will not be time to even see all the major sites in Jerusalem. Truly ever minute matters. The campus is beautiful and full of history. Some parts dating back to the Hasmonean period (BC), Hared the Great, Byzantium, etc. As Professor Vern has said, Archeology is messy around here. Things get torn down and rebuild, often using some of the same stone. The school here was originally until in the late 1800's as a orphan school for boys, but due to unrest in the area around '67, the school relocated. Now it is in the hands of JUC.

And we're off to the Water Ridge - Ahead. Any water on the other side
of that ridge will go to the Mediterranean. Any on our side
will go to the Dead Sea.
After lunch it was time to begin our walk though Jerusalem. We began by walking down the Valley of Hinnom and up the Water Shed Ridge where King David's Hotel is located. This ridge is significant in that on this ridge ran the patriarchal highway - the main North/South route through the region. This is the route Abraham likely would have taken when travelling South, and probably departed the road somewhere nearby to head over to Mount Moriah - the mountain God instructed Abraham to offer his only son. Additionally, this ridge is the divide between the East/West water-flow. Theoretically, the rain that falls on the west side of this ridge will flow to the Mediterranean, and on the east to the Dead Sea. From the top of this ridge, one can peer through Hinnom Valley, beyond the Kidron all the way to Jordan! From here we headed back over to the Jaffa Gate and down, down David Street to St. Mark's road. We stopped for a teaching session near the cross roads of the four quarters. Jerusalem is a holy place to many people, thus the city has been divided into four quarters. The northern most corner is the Muslim quarter. This is includes the Dome of the Rock - the site where Solomon's temple once stood. Going clockwise to the east is the Jewish quarter which includes Western Wall. To the south is the Armenian quarter, and to the west is the Christian Quarter. Here at the cross roads of these groups, one can see the Dome of the Rock directly ahead, and the Church of the Redeemer slightly behind to the left. While here Vern elaborated on the Middle Eastern worldview.  Interestingly one only "owns" the four walls around his home. The floor and ceiling are shared, and thus are "public" places. That's why it was okay for us to walking on somebody's roof ;) ... Personal space is non-existent in middle east! This brought to my mind the story of the lame man lowered though the roof to Jesus. I guess technically, they were burrowing though "public" property. Additionally, Jews perceive time as cyclical. One will understand the future by looking into the past. If one wants to see where they are going, they should look behind them. Note how many times God tells the Israelites to "remember." By demonstrating that He has provided for their ancestors, is a sign that He will provide for them too. Rather than keeping track of time my month and day, the Jews would keep track of time by seasons and festivals. Thus today is twenty three days after Pentecost. ... Just a few nuggets I found interesting along the way.
Next we headed further into the Jewish quarter where we passed the remnants of a road constructed by the Romans before coming to an overlook of the Temple Mount and specifically the Western Wailing Wall. Here one can see the Jews coming to pray - the closest they can get to the Temple Mount and the ancient site of the Holy of Holies. Directly below the overlook are remnants of the Secondary Cardo - another main road build through the heart of the Jerusalem by the Romans connecting the once northern to the southern gates of the old city. These "straight" roads through the city were constructed by Hadrian around 132-134 AD. With her temple gone, the idea was to make Jerusalem more like a Roman colony. In order for them to be installed, much clearing had to done. Jerusalem is the second oldest city in the world that has been continually inhabited. Next only to Damascus. Thus throughout its 4,000 plus year old history the city has been torn down and rebuilt many times, and space within the city is extremely valuable. Hence over the past nineteen hundred years, other buildings have been constructed on the road to where these "Roman roads" are currently only visible in a few select locations.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre. 
From here we wondered back through to St. Mark's Road and across to the Christian Quarter Road and over the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Here is the traditional sight of Christ's crucifixion, death, and burial. Although within the city walls today, in Jesus' day this would have been on a hill just outside the wall just outside the gate. This has been confirmed by additional first century tombs in the area. I had not previously realized how much the walls have moved over the centuries. Parts have been incorporated into the city, and others have been left out. Today, much of David's Jerusalem lies outside of the city walls. At first I found the idea of building a church directly over many of these holy sites a bit repulsive, but I was reminded that real-estate is exceedingly valuable in such a compact city and nation. Had a church not been built above it, the next conqueror would see the open real-estate and do their own building on the site. This is particularly what happened at the Temple Mount around the time of the Muslim invasion. The Temple Mount was clear and open, a perfect place to build. In 135 AD, Hadrian had a statue of Jupiter erected on the hill of Golgotha. Similar to the concept when Antiochus IV Epiphanies desecrated the temple by placing a image of Zues in the Holy of Holies. During the Constantine's era, he ordered a church to be built over this already traditional holy site. In order to fit it within the enormous church, he had the edges of Golgotha shaved off, making it into a cube. Then Constantine had the hill removed under which Christ was buried. Although he left an outline of the cave so that pilgrims could enter, it collapsed after an earthquake. Originally the church was quite large with a grand staircase and gardens. However, over the centuries of capture and recapture, the church is only about a third of its original size. Interestingly, six churches lay claim to the site, but the actual land is owned by a Muslim family! Every morning the Muslim family will come and unlock the door for church leaders. Each church branch has their own chapel within the larger church. Ancient Golgotha is located behind the protruding chapel when looking at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Upon entering, directly ahead, is the stone in which Jesus was reportedly lain. Behind is a mosaic depicting these last major events in the life of Christ: His Death, Burial, and Resurrection. Backing up to where we first entered, there is a small chapel called Adam's Chapel on the right (under Golgotha). Here a crack is displayed in the foundation rock. According to Eastern Orthodox theology, Adam was buried here. Christ, the second Adam, died here to set the first Adam free. Coming back out of the chapel and winding up the stairs is the top of Golgotha. Although highly decorated, one can see the foundation stone and if one likes, can stick their hand in a hole and touch the rock. On the ceilings and walls are paintings from the Byzantium Period. Heading back down, one can loop around in either direction to site of the tomb. Fanning out from here are the various chapels of the churches that share this holy place. Some bigger than others. The Eastern Orthodox have the largest chapel by far. There is a small table in their chapel that is claimed as "the center of the universe."

Afterward we headed out again; this time to a reputable salesman in the old city where we can get an honest exchange rate for our American money and honest prices on souvenirs ~ a long standing friend of JUC. Along the way back to campus, Vern, our guide, pointed out where we can pick up any additional toiletries or pharmaceutical needs as well as the best health clinic if we should need such a place. Sounds like the medical prices here are much less. Probably because they don't need to pay through their eyeballs for insurance! After supper I called by wife and headed back out to the Damascus Gate to get a few more pictures while it was still light out. A great first day! 
Pottery Collection at JUC ~ several date to the era of Christ

This is one of the exterior walls at JUC - some of large rocks at the bottom
date to the Hasmonean Period and others to the Herodian Period. The
upper stones are more modern - mid 1800's I think.

Protestant Cemetery - I'll need to get the actual key to enter. One of these
evenings I'll go in and find  Horatio Spafford, author of the hymn,
"It is Well with My Soul"

Back sitting area at JUC

Classroom at JUC

More of the rear Gardens and sitting area

Climbing up to the Water Ridge

Looking back toward Mt. Zion. The steeple in the background is the
Dormition Church. It is important to note that this is MODERN Mt. Zion,
not the biblical Mt. Zion. The biblical Mt. Zion is the Temple Mount itself.

View from the Water Ridge, looking down the Hinnom Valley
across the Kidron.

If you look REALLY close you can see Jordan behind the hills.

Gardens atop the Water Ridge. It is on this water ridge that would have
hosted the main North/South highway. This is the route Abraham
would have taken when passing this way.

Entering Jaffa Gate

Street Markets in Old Jerusalem

"Special deal for you, you a special person, only 50 shekels!"

Walking the Streets of Old Jerusalem

Jewish Gentleman

Standing at the crossroads of the four quarters. Here facing the
Christian Quarter and the  Church of the Redeemer

Here you are facing the Muslim / Jewish Quarter with the
Dome of the Rock in the Background

Vern, our professor and guide elaborating on the middle eastern worldview. 

Walking the Streets of Old Jerusalem. Notice the dip in the middle
of the road - that's for water to travel down the streets. In
ancient days it would have been for your sewage.

Here is a portion of the remains of the Roman Road constructed by Hadrian
around 132-134 BC. Notice how at the other end buildings are now
resting on the road. This road is no longer in use ... and certainly not that wide!
If you can see that notch up on the right - add that space to the left too and
that's your Roman Road. - A straight road through the heart of Jerusalem.

Group of School Children out for a Field Trip

First Glimpse of the Wailing Wall

And there's the Dome of the Rock ... and looks like there's some construction
going on down to the left! Vern says that builders try to work quickly and
not let the Jewish Antiquities know, otherwise, an archaeology dig may halt
their plans.

Straight down below us is the remains of the Second Cardo / Roman Road.
This one ran North / South. 

Closest I've been to the Wailing Wall yet ... hopefully soon I can make it
on my own time.

Here is the water system in action!

Side Streets in Old City Jerusalem

I think that's the Church of the Resurrection in the
background. The roads of Jerusalem twist and turn, up and
down so much, that it  difficult to know where I am!
 Good think I'm with the tour group ;)

More Side Shops

Behind that protruding chapel is Golgotha. 

The Stone were Jesus' body was lain for preparation. The rest of the cave
system has been removed and built around. Sad on one hand, but a
way to "preserve" on the other.

Inside Adam's Chapel. Note the crack in Golgotha's hill.
May be from the earthquake that took place when Christ died.

Building housing the rest of the tomb, but He's not there!
The structure has been reinforced with steel as it was beginning
to collapse. It had fallen down once before and been
repaired a couple centuries ago. 

Other first century tombs found in the area. - Confirming that, yes this was
outside the city at the time. 

Inside is the bedrock where the cave would have been.

Each of these poles has a light bulb on top. When it's
time for a particular church group's service, their light
comes on. This signals to the other groups to back off
and let them have their turn. 

This is the Eastern Orthodox Chapel. It's hard to see, but
look at the third table in the center. It has kind of an "x" on
it. This according to Eastern Orthodox theology is the center
of the universe. 

Ceiling of the Eastern Orthodox Chapel

Mosaic on the Ceiling of Golgotha Chapel.
Dates to the Byzantium Era (Post-Roman)

Mosaic to the right of Golgotha.

Glimpse in the Direction of Golgotha. 

Passing Mary on the Way ...

Pictured is the bedrock of Golgotha.

Image of Jesus directly above

Here is the hole where you can touch the bedrock. The
table-like structure forces one to bow. You can't see where
you're sticking your hand ... 

Mosaic behind the preparation bench (visable upon entrace into the
Holy Sepulchre

Middle of Mosaic

Yep, that's me outside the Holy Sepulchre. I'm told it's not as busy from four to
 nine in the morning and  around seven in the evening.

Tall view of the Church of the Holy Sepulchar.
Nope, that ladder by the window still hasn't moved!

More from the Steet

Heading Back to Campus

And that my friend is an Olive Tree ... did you know the only difference
 between green and black olives is the time spent on the tree. They just
leave the green ones on until they turn black!

1 comment:

  1. Zane, I'm really enjoying your posts and pictures. Looks like you're having a really memorable experience there.