This was a day of contrasting altitudes. But it did give us a well-rounded sense of the topography and historical context of Jerusalem, from David's time to the present.
We tried to go up the Temple Mount first thing this morning but the line was too long. So we started walking at the Jaffa Gate and made our way to Mt. Zion. We visited the Upper Room, site of the last Supper and Pentecost. We then followed along Mt. Zion to Caiaphas' House. This was the place where Jesus was tried before the Sanhedrin and where Peter denied the Lord. In the jail, a pit in the basement of the home, we had Martin (father of an English family that has been traveling with us since Tiberius) read Psalm 88. It gave a solemn reminder of how the Lord may have felt that night.
Shlome our bus driver then delivered us to the top of the Mt. Of Olives for the stunning view of the Old City. Walking down the Palm Sunday trail we could hear the sounds of "Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord." Following a visit to the Garden of Gethsemane and the Church of All Nations, we spent some quiet time in a private garden of olive trees nearby. We took a few minutes to review the night of the arrest from the last supper on Mt. Zion, to the arrest, to the trial at Caiaphas' house. Everyone was then left to their own thoughts in the quiet of the garden.
Following lunch at Ramat Rachel, we headed for the City of David. So much has been done to this site over the past ten years. We went down into the city, hearing about the archeological finds that affirm the Davidic dynasty. We then made our way along the ancient water system and sewage tunnel all the way from the Pool of Siloam to the Southern Wall of the Old City along the Cheesemaker Valley. It was a long, sometimes tight, sometimes damp journey. But it gave us a real sense of walking along the length of the city of Jesus' day.
We ended our day sitting on the same steps that Jesus sat on when He was twelve and was speaking to the Rabbis the time His parents left Him. It was an amazing way to end our long and fruitful day.
Here are some visual reminders.