Prayer, Communion and Departure
Our last day in Israel began with our tour bus driver winding his way through East Jerusalem traffic to the Mount of Olives. With Old Jerusalem as his backdrop, Ronan read Old Testament prophecies of the then yet to come Messiah. On our walk down the Mount of Olives we rejoiced in the Lord, singing praises to him.
Mount of Olives
Separated from the Eastern Hill (the Temple Mount and the City of David) by the Kidron Valley, the Mt. of Olives has always been an important feature in Jerusalem’s landscape. From the 3rd millennium B.C. until the present, this 2900-foot hill has served as one of the main burial grounds for the city. The two-mile long ridge has three summits each of which has a tower built on it.
On a grassy place along the hillside, Bryan talked to us about two cups - Jesus' cup of suffering and his cup of covenant communion. From Matthew 26:26-29, we read Jesus' instructions to his disciples and Hickman led us in communion together. At the traditional site of The Garden of Gethsemane, Ronan read of Jesus' prayer and betrayal which is also recorded in Matthew 26.
We walked up Mount Moriah and entered Old Jerusalem through the Lion's Gate. We sang to the Lord in beautiful St Anne's church. The church is located beside the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the paralyzed man. (John 5) Ronan encouraged us to have a faith that is strong.
After walking though the Muslim Quarter along the northern wall of the temple, Ronan taught us about historic tensions between the Romans and the Jews during Passover and the importance of the Antonia Fortress. This fortress possibly served as a court of law where Jesus' accusers assembled against him.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher was the last stop on our walk before we had lunch. Lamb kabob in pita bread was perfect after our incredible morning. Our lunch devotion included a reading from Psalm 122:6, "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. 'May those who love you be secure.’"
On the way back to the hotel, we visited the holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. It is a reminder of the desperate need for the light of Jesus Christ in this dark world.
We shared our farewell dinner at Naurah Restaurant and are now on our way to Tel Aviv, Newark, and Memphis. This has been such a wonderful time together. We praise our Father in heaven who made this possible. Abba, Father.
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