Monday, 14 June 2010

Friday 11th June

I woke up sometime after 3.00am with the call to prayer from the mosque which I look out onto from my bedroom window. Fortunately I managed to get back to sleep.

We began by driving to the Church of St Peter in Gallicantu on Mount Zion. This is thought to be the location of the house of Caiaphas. Although the church was modern and recently renovated it had a calm beauty about it. We went to the dungeon (the pit) where we read psalm 88. It is quite possible that we were standing on the very ground that Jesus had the night before he was crucified. It reminded me of the bottle dungeon in St Andrew's Castle in its style.

A drive beyond West Jerusalem took us to Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist. We then visited the Israel Museum to view the model of 1st century Jerusalem and the Shrine of the book where there was a facsimile of the scroll of Isaiah and information about Quamran and the dead sea scrolls.

We had the most wonderful lunch – dips & salads & bread; we then discovered that was only a starter. We were given a delicious drink made with mint, lemon and crushed ice – perfect for such a hot day. We ate under the shade of the Vines in the restaurant of the Jerusalem hotel.

As we left Jerusalem the traffic was very busy, with lots of police and soldiers visible. They had closed many of the city gates & Temple Mount to men over 40 as they were concerned their might be problems in connection with the capturing of the aid ships to Gaza & the deaths & injuries caused.

At this point we were headed for Bethany which used to be a 5 minute drive but because of the security wall they journey now takes over half an hour. We went to the Church and tomb of Lazarus before we visited children's homes; boys home and associated school of Jeel al- Amal (which means generation of hope) and the girls home called Lazarus. We heard about the work they do and the support they need. Some of the group had brought things for the children and gifts from their churches.

On local advice we postponed our trip to the Wailing Wall until after dinner; because it was the beginning of the Sabbath we were asked not to take cameras or phones with us. As we walked down to the Western Wall there were large numbers of Jews returning home from the wall and Synagogue. When we reached the wall we were able to go forward to pray. The wall was incredibly smooth to touch; worn away by generations of prayers. It was an amazing privilege to be able to pray there.

As we walked back to the hotel most of us stopped off in the way back at a cafe for drinks.

It was a very hot – apparently it reached 37C.

1 comment:

  1. wow - that all looks amazing. Trips to Romford Shopping Mall will never be the same again!
    oh, oh NO - is that a Macdonalds sign i see before me ? Enjoy the next couple of days.