Israel Study Tour with Taft Avenue Community Church

September 12-23, 2022

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Day 09 - Mount of Olives, Gethsemane, Israel Museum, Saint Anne’s, Pool of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, farewell dinner

Today was an amazing final day in Jerusalem and in Israel! We went to so many places to end this wonderful trip. Today we started at the Mount of Olives which has an amazing view of Jerusalem. It's cool to experience the same place that Jesus will come back to. In the more modern day Mount of Olives people would get buried here because according to Jewish and Christian tradition, the Messiah will come back to earth here.

We then walked to Gethsemane and remembered when Jesus prayed here and submitted to the Father’s will. We went to the Israel museum that has so many awesome things to look at and learn about but today we focused on two major things. The first was the model of Jerusalem during the first century or the time of Jesus. The model was made by a single man and is still having changes added to this day. The second, was the display of the Dead Sea scrolls. We got to read what they said as well as where they were found. From there we went to the church of Saint Anne’s which is said to have the most beautiful acoustics of any ancient church. It was amazing and so impactful to be able to sing in the church and hearing how amazing it sounded when we could praise our Lord and Savior in that way. 

The next site that we got to visit was called the Pool of Bethesda. This pool was famous for lots of folk tales told there about the God of healing and how people would go in the pool to be healed. It was amazing to read and study how Jesus came and proved that he was God by healing a man without having to use the water. It was proof that he was God and that this so-called “god of healing” wasn’t real. From here we took a road through Jerusalem called Via Dolorosa. As we were walking we learned that this was the road that Jesus took his cross and carried it to his death. It was a humbling and a big realization for me that Jesus really did die for our sins and really did get tortured for our sins.

When we were walking it was interesting to see the history from the old Jerusalem and the modern Jerusalem with all the shops along the road. The Via Dolorosa lead us to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher which was again another very humbling site to visit. When we were at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher we got to actually touch the rock that is believed to be the rock that they put the cross which they hung Jesus on. This church was very interesting and had lots of paintings, various traditional candles, and many people praying. Then to end the day we walked to an amazing restaurant where we ate dinner to end the day. This was a great last dinner with the group, lots of reflections happening and tears being shed. Just an amazing moment and dinner to share with everyone. This was our last phenomenal day in Jerusalem!

Jeffrey Johnson

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