Israel Study Tour with Grace Central Coast

October 11-23, 2015

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To wail or not to wail

Our first day in Jerusalem started with a visit to the Western (wailing) Wall in old Jerusalem. We each had an opportunity to go, pray and touch the wall—what an awe inspiring time.

We then walked down into tunnels which run underneath the western wall—the tunnels were 30 ft. above the lowest level of the temple, with 70 ft. above us. These tunnels were under Muslim homes. There is still excavation in progress.

Rabbinic Tunnels

The tour of the western wall tunnels is one of the most popular tourist sites in Jerusalem. These underground tunnels connect the western wall prayer area to the north-west side of the temple mount, passing along the side of the temple mount and under the present day houses in the Old City. Along its path are remains from the second temple period, as well as structures from later periods.

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We then proceeded to the south-eastern corner of the temple mount. Here we walked a first century street where Christ himself walked. The Southern Wall was filled with steps and mikvahs. In the time of Christ, Rabbis would teach their disciples here. It is believed that Peter spoke here about Pentecost and 3,000 converts were baptized in these mikvahs.

We then drove the Bethlehem. Since this area is under Palestinian authority we switched to Arab Christian drivers and busses. We stopped for a yummy lunch at Marvel Restaurant in Behtlehem. Our next stop was the “Church of the Nativity” with our Arab, Christian tour guide. There are 3 operational churches here-the Catholic, Orthodox Greek, & Armenian churches. We took stairs to go under their foundation, where in a cave was the birthplace of Christ-marked by a 14 point star. It was amazing!!!!

We finished our day by shopping in Bethlehem at an Arab Christian stored called “Johnny’s Souvenirs” and we all had a great time spending some money.

Linda & Dan Matthias

Bethlehem

Biblical scholars believe Bethlehem, located in the "hill country" of Judah, may be the same as the Biblical Ephrath which means "fertile", as there is a reference to it in the Book of Micah as Bethlehem Ephratah.[17] The Bible also calls it Beth-Lehem Judah,and the New Testament describes it as the "City of David". It is first mentioned in the Bible as the place where the matriarch Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside" (Gen. 48:7). Rachel's Tomb, the traditional grave site, stands at the entrance to Bethlehem. According to the Book of Ruth, the valley to the east is where Ruth of Moab gleaned the fields and returned to town with Naomi. It was the home of Jesse, father of King David of Israel, and the site of David's anointment by the prophet Samuel. It was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his warriors brought him water when he was hiding in the cave of Adullam.

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