Israel Study Tour with Wellspring Church, Cherokee Hills Baptist Church

Mar 2-13, 2020

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The Temple Mount

Don't forget to not forget, God will turn our mourning into dancing and our sorrow into joy

Hello Everyone,
Today was another beautiful day in Israel! Clear skies and great company all around make for a happy bunch of tourists :)

I am going to keep this post shorter than others because one, it has been a long day and I'm a bit tired but mostly because some of the places we went today we were not allowed to bring our notebooks in and therefore my memory is going to be a bit fuzzy. I apologize in advance and will try to make up for it tomorrow.

We started off the day at a new hotel, the Grand Court Hotel in Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a very large city with a lot of traffic and people we found out. Still there is some amazing architecture and history in the city.

We began our tour at the Temple Mount and stayed there for the rest of the morning until lunch. We learned about the history of the Temple Mount, the battles and conquests that have taken place, the significance that this place has to many religion, one of the biggest being Islam. After Dan explained much to us and we were able to explore a little bit, we went to the Western Wall also known as the Wailing Wall. This is a very significant place for the Jews as it signifies the closest they can come to the Holy of Holies. There was crying and praying there today and it makes me very grateful that we as Christians don't have to mourn and cry because Jesus has come as our High Priest and interceded on our behalf before God the Father.

We then took a guided tour through the Rabbinical Tunnels which run parallel to the western wall and held many purposes form being an aqueduct to a road next to the Temple Mount long ago. This was an incredible 1 hour tour and we learned a lot of history from this.

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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After we exited the tunnels, we carried on to the Via Dolorosa or the Way of Suffering, the road that Jesus is forced to walk with his cross until he comes to Golgotha. We found out that most of the places that are temples or monasteries or places of worship are taken care of by the Franciscan Order. These places are very well preserved and we were able to stand on the actual road that Jesus would have stepped on and seen the floor of the court that Jesus was tried in.

Once we left the Via Dolorosa and had a small break, we headed to the bus where Eli was waiting to take us to a small yet beautiful park where we had nice lamb chop kabobs. Very tasty and everyone was delighted to eat after a long time of walking and standing.

We then took a little break from history and were able to go to a shop. The neat thing about this shop is that it is owned by a man named Mike who is an nephew of a man named Johnny that lives and owns a shop in Bethlehem. Well because we were unable to go to Bethlehem due to COVID-19, Johnny had some of his goods shipped over to us at Mike's shop so that we could still get things from him and support the Christians of Bethlehem. This was a nice time to relax, do some shopping, and just have a good time.

We then made our last stop at a place that was not on the itinerary due to Bethlehem but was very cool to see and that was Ein Karem, or the place where the Church of John (the Baptist) in the Wilderness was. This was known as the birthplace of John the Baptist and where Mary and Elizabeth met with the John and Jesus in their wombs. There were two churches to see, the first was the John in the Wilderness Church and the second was one on a hill above the city of Ein Karem that was thought to be the place where Elizabeth stayed for the 9 months before John was born. She would have done this because she was older and was probably ridiculed for having a baby so this was her hiding place in a way. If you read Luke 1 starting in verse 35, you can read the whole story of Mary, Elizabeth, Zachariah and John.

After coming back down the hill, we enjoyed some good gelato from a store front and then made our way back to the hotel.

We had another wonderful dinner at the amazing buffet that the hotel provides and then had a meeting at 7:30 to discuss tomorrow as well as look back on the week or so with thankful hearts.

Please pray for Dan, our Israeli tour guide and for Eli, our chef and bus driver, that they might become Christians so that one day we can all worship together in the throne room of Christ, proclaiming his wonderous and holy name.

In Christ Alone,
Keegan

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