Our next stop is Omar’s Souvenirs. Omar’s place is in the area behind the bus station near the Garden Tomb. Omar is the world’s best woodcarver. On our way to his shop we cut through the bus station and market place.
We stopped for bagels. Bagels in Israel are long. They are almost a loaf of bread.
You see a few people wearing kefias (headdress like the one in the picture above). Red and white usually means Jordanian.
As we got close to Omar’s office, Omar came out of the barbershop and yelled, “Are you coming to see me?”
He came over and gave me a big hug and asked how I have been doing. We came in to his shop and one of the first things John found was this…
Everyone got something at Omar’s, and then Omar treated us to juice and lunch.
Off we went to our next destination – through the Damascus Gate.
We made another stop at the Garden Tomb. It was raining and nobody was there. That allowed me to snap a couple of photos with the place empty.
Pool of Bethesda
We stopped to see the place where Jesus was condemned to death. From there, it is only a short walk to the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed a man.
Soon we found ourselves in tight alleyways and before long, on the school grounds. A man showed us around pointing out various sights around the old city. He then walked us out of that quarter of the old city.
We ended the day in the Yahuda area. I went for 1/2 a shawarma and a Coke. I’m glad I didn’t order the WHOLE shawarma.
We have a late flight out. And, since we have a late flight out we plan to see a couple more sites before heading to the airport. However, we do have to have the car back by 4:00pm local time.
My day started before the sunrise walking on the beach again. Very therapeutic and peaceful. It is also very spiritual.
Today I wrote in the sand, “Be Still”, for three reasons. I love the hymn Be Still My Soul. Also, when Christ calmed the seas he said, “Peace, be still.” Finally, the Lord tells us to “be still and know that I am God.”
There are a few places where you can walk and feel the spirit like this. I’ve listed them in order of my preferences:
Gethsemane (Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens)
The Sacred Grove
The Priesthood Restoration Site (Harmony, Pennsylvania)
The Garden Tomb
After another great breakfast… we headed to Capernaum – the City of Jesus. This is where Jesus spent much of his early ministry. However, they would not believe his words and mighty miracles.
A large statue of Peter appears here with him holding keys. While the Christ’s announcement to Peter about the keys of the kingdom took place at Caesarea Philippi, Capernaum was Peter’s home. Here is where Christ called his apostles and told Peter he would make him a fisher of men.
We left Capernaum and headed across the country to Caesarea on the coast. This is the city where Paul spent time in prison. It is a beautiful example of Roman architecture in the 1st Century. What is left of a large aqueduct parallels the beach of the Mediterranean Sea.
We exhausted our time at Caesarea and headed to Tel Aviv to return our car. When we got the the airport, we followed the signs of rental returns but ended up in a parking lot. As we exited, we pushed the “help” button and asked, “Where do we go to return our rental car.”
A loud outburst of laughter was heard across the speak. They were probably thinking, “Dumb Americans.”
We eventually found the car return and headed into the terminal. We were so early they wouldn’t let us check our bags and there we sat and waited for hours. The funny thing is, it was the start of the Sabbath and most of the concession were closed. In fact, there were four lingerie shops in a row and all four were closed for the Sabbath. Something about that just seems comical.
I begin my 60th year here on earth. Yes, it was 59 years ago today that I was born.
After learning that Adam served his mission in Brazil, I told him on Monday (today) he would have to sing Parabéns A Você (translation: Happy Birthday to You). I continued to warn him and then today I asked, “So, when do I get to hear you sing Parabéns A Você?”
Brenda said, “Why would you want us to do that? Like it’s nobody’s birthday today?”
“I beg your pardon,” I retorted.
“Today’s your birthday?!!”, Adam asked.
I informed them it was, and while walking along the rim of the Kidron Valley, Brenda and Adam sang Parabéns A Você.
Earlier in the day we visited Omars. I know how to get to his place via the light rail system.
Omar is the Leonardo DiVinci of Olive Wood. If I were rich, I’d buy up a lot of his creations. Just lok at the detail in Captain Moroni. I ended up buying a bunch of small items for my children and grandchildren as well as a bust of Christ of Elizabethe.
We also had a day of contrast as we visited the Garden Tomb and Golgotha. We then to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Yup, contrast as you can see here…
And, we visited King David’s Tomb as well as the Upper Room (they are right next to each other.)
Earlier, we also visited the Pool of Bethesda.
We went all over the place, but everything is a relatively short walk as it isn’t a very large area.
If you had just one day in Jerusalem, where would you go?
It would be the garden tomb.
So, for our last day in Jerusalem, we returned to the Garden Tomb. We ran in to our tour guide Norm who was happy to see us return to this special location. We shared something in common with Norm and that is we all believe, “He is not here. He is risen.”
Nonetheless, the Garden Tomb is a special place. I’ve taken upon myself a personal challenge to render the tomb as it may have looked before Jesus’ body was laid in the tomb that Friday afternoon so long ago.
1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the asepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. 2 aAnd they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. 3 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is arisen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.
This is one of my favorite scriptures. I imagine the image I just rendered with a sunny, bright glorious morn, and two angels standing by, as they announce, “He is not here, but is risen!”
We next drove to Nazareth where the YMCA has created a Nazarene village as it would have looked when Jesus was there. In the synagogue were the scriptures laid out. I envisioned Jesus standing there and announcing, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”
We then returned to Tel Aviv to the airport. I hate to leave this beautiful land where so much history was made. But, it is time to go home, and I vow to return. There’s too much to see and learn here.
I leave you with this last image from the Holy Land… That of a carpenter of humble birth.
Yesterday I forgot to mention we tried to find the Garden Tomb. Well, we found it, but we couldn’t find where to park. So, today we went back with renewed determination to find it.
Located in a Palestinian area of town, the Garden Tomb has all the archeological signs that it was the tomb where Jesus’ body was placed when they removed it from the cross. I won’t repeat all the information they have on their web site. You can find it here: http://gardentomb.com/
Our tour guide, Norm Derkson, was great. This Canadian minister and his wife are serving at the Garden Tomb for a few months. Norm was great because he pointed out the importance of seeking the resurrected Savior. He repeated often, “He is not here; He is risen.”
I felt this to be a special place. It somewhat saddened me that Golgotha is now the backdrop for an urban bus station, and topped with a wall and a tank. (if you look near the center top you can see a military tank just to the right of the obtuse corner.)
The painted cross was added, probably by the crusaders. Letters XC means “Christ” (short for ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ). Alpha and Omega are also shown – a name for the Savior. YC for Yesu Christo. Perhaps these ancients recognized this as the tomb of Jesus Christ. Again, we don’t know, but all of the pieces of the puzzle come together at this location: Golgotha, outside the city wall, a tomb of a rich man, a tomb in a garden, the body’s resting place to the right as you enter the sepulcher, a sepulcher meant for permanent rest, and not one where they remove the bones and place them in a box later, a track for a very large stone to seal the door, etc.
After visiting the Garden Tomb, we continued on to Absalom’s, Jehosephat’s and Zacharais’ tombs. They are at the base of the Mount of Olives along a path that leads to the City of David near the Pool of Siloam.
We then crossed the street (Road to Jericho) and went to the traditional Garden of Gethsemane. I found it interesting that I felt a stronger spirit near the entrance to the Orson Hyde Memorial Gardens. Although beautiful and interesting, it isn’t so much important as to whether this is the actual place of the atonement, but that the atonement is real.
39 ¶And he came out, and went, as he was awont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.
40 And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into atemptation.
41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, aremove this cup from me: nevertheless not my bwill, but thine, be done.
43 And there appeared an aangel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.
44 And being in an aagony he prayed more earnestly: band his sweat was as it were great drops of cblood falling down to the ground.
We obviously didn’t travel based on the time-line of our Savior’s last week. Although that would be a fun thing to do, we visited the sites based on convenience and location. Our next stop would be Caiaphas’ house.
It is believed that it was here where Peter denied being one of Christ’s followers.
54 ¶Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the ahall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilæan. 60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 61 And the aLord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly.
It was hear where Jesus stood before the high priest Caiaphas and they took him to a pit under the house.
Our next stop was a church built where the “upper room” would have been. No, this is not the same building. In fact, the city of Jerusalem where Christ would have been is several feet below the modern city. Remember, Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. However, it is believed it would have been in this general area.