Back to the blog post.
This will go over much better when I have pictures**. Until then you just get words. Black and white across a screen. Boring... and my imagery sometimes leaves a little to be desired. Are you excited yet?
The second day we went to Hezekiah's Tunnel and walked through. It was amazing***. When we got to the end**** we stopped by our Israeli Tour Guide's ***** brothers shop and bought Widow's Mites and Herodian lamps and stuff.
Then we drove out to Jericho, stopped at the****** Sycamore tree mentioned in Luke 19. Went to the Hebron Glass store. We didn't go to Hebron b/c it was not safe.
Then we went to Lazarus' Tomb. A traditional site that has some evidence that it is also the correct site. !!!
We ate lunch at the Traditional Site of the Mount of Temptation. and then went to a Tel++ and looked over the countryside. The City of Jericho is the oldest continually inhabited city in the world and a few days after we visited they had a 11,000 year birthday party there. Then we drove back to Jerusalem and went to the West Wall of the Temple and ushered in the Sabbath with the Jews. !!!
The next day was Saturday and we observed the Sabbath. First we went to the Church of All Nations. We saw the traditional rock that Jesus prayed at. We touched a tree that is old enough to have been there to witness his agony. Then we crossed the street+++ and went into the Garden of Gethsemane. Evidently there are known pick pickets loitering in the street there, so we were told not to purchase anything from the vendors. In the Garden it was beautiful and peaceful... and there was a gospel choir recording a music video. It kinda spoiled the atmosphere for me. Luckily there was enough room that we could go off and have a quiet contemplation without the choir or the traffic from the roads across the Kidron Valley being too distracting.
Then we went to Sacrament Meeting at the BYU Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. This is where Tarah is doing her study abroad and we surprised her. We thought she'd be at choir practice so we went in but she was not there. So we had her paged and we waited and waited while she woke up(!) and got dressed and come to see who was wanting to see her. We had another scream and cry fest. It was very fun. She was totally, completely surprised. We sat with her for the meeting and enjoyed the testimonies of the students and a few members of our trip. Then we rounded up professors and a faculty for introductions and permission slips. We were going to take Tarah with us to visit Bethany and drop her off later that night. It almost worked out. Almost. When the guy in charge found out that we were going to Bethany++++, he said no way. 'Student's are not allowed in Bethany, blah blah blah'. So we left her. We drove to Bethany and stopped for lunch at a tent restaurant^^^. We visited the caves where shepherds kept their flocks by night and learned about mangers of the time (they were hewn out of boulders). Then we looked out over the fields were shepherds kept their flocks. Aladdin showed us Jewish Settlements in the Palestinian Territory and gave us a brief overview of that confrontation. As we drove back we stopped at Aladdin's winter house which was beautiful and completed^^^^. We drove through a checkpoint and saw the huge (25' tall) wall separating the Jews from the Palestinians. There was graffiti all over. Some of the pictures were poignant. We stopped at our Tour Guide's friend's shop to purchase hand carved olive wood. I really like the $400 carving of Joseph, Mary and Jesus on a donkey. But I got some tiny carving that were in my budget.
* It's exciting to sing this song, because we are doing the fill score arrangement. Snare Drum, organ and two painos, triangles, pretty much everything; it will be so fun.
** I left my camera at home^ so I would have to opportunity of losing it^^.
^ I was in a lot of my Mom's pictures and no one noticed I didn't have a camera of my own. Dave` was surprised to learn I didn't have one on the last day of the trip. That's how I know.
`Whom you will probably be hearing a lot about b/c he is awesome and he joined my mom and I in Egypt.
^^ I only brought along one 'pricey' item, my new set of scriptures. Which I promptly lost at JFK Airport. So it's probably good that I didn't bring the camera.
*** "It was amazing!" I run the risk of saying this so many times it'll take up the whole post. From now on I'll just give you a little visual "!!!".
**** The tunnel comes 'out' from under the ground once it's inside the city and continues to become the Pool of Shalom+. A building was constructed between where the tunnel ends and the Pool of Shalom so you can't see it, we went up a flight of stairs and down the other side of the building to see the pool.
+ many of the historic sites that contained water are no longer wet. The country diverts pools and streams, and the River Jordan, to irrigate crops and water the population.
***** Did I mention that our guide was Aladdin Saim? He was great.
******So many, many of the sites we went to are "traditional". Only a few have archeological evidence that it was indeed the exact place mentioned in the Bible.
++ A tel is a man made mountain. This one was made by at least 20 civilizations building upon the ruins of previous civilizations. The archeologists cut away a pie slice shape of the Tel and excavated the slice to determine this. !!!
+++ At Christ's time the garden would have encompassed the whole of the Church of All Nations and the street and the walled garden we went into as well as more land.
++++ To get to Bethany you have to pass outside of Israeli occupied territory into the West Bank... the disputed territory that can be dangerous.
^^^ I think the tent was based on a traditional Bedouin Tent. !!!
^^^^ In Israel you have to pay taxes on completed buildings so many buildings are left 'uncompleted' with re-bar coming out the tops etc. so the owners don't have to pay taxes.