Israel: The Holy City: Three Faiths, One Jerusalem

Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem

We had to rise and shine even earlier than usual to catch our first glimpse of the Western Wall—or Wailing Wall—in the Old City of Jerusalem. Part of the ancient wall that once surrounded the Temple courtyard, it remains a holy place of pilgrimage and prayer for devout Jews.

Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem

And then we entered the Temple Mount and beheld the golden Dome of the Rock, a Byzantine-era shrine. Here and there Muslim men were gathered in small groups to study the Qur’an, barely glancing our direction as we walked across the broad courtyard and snapped endless photos of the blue-and-white porcelain walls and the gold-covered dome.

The Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem

Not sure how I imagined the Pool of Bethesda might look, but when we visited there next, I was surprised to see deeply hewn rock and a thin stream of water far below us. “Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed.” John 5:3

Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem

Midday found us at the Bible Lands Museum, where each ancient artifact was fully described including a passage of Scripture. I now have a much clearer picture of those household idols Rachel took from her father. No wonder she could sit on them: they were tiny, like miniature action figures! Since we couldn’t take photos, check out their website:

At the nearby Israeli Museum we saw the Shrine of the Book with one of the original Dead Sea Scrolls and a huge outdoor model of old Jerusalem.

Model of Jerusalem at the Time of the Second Temple

Our sightseeing day ended at the Holocaust Memorial of Yad Vashem, which completely undid me. A series of paths guided us through rooms with artifacts and video interviews of survivors, their stories unfolding chronologically through the desperate days of World War II. The sense of loss was overwhelming, yet as we walked ever upward, we finally reached a glass wall with a green and peaceful view and sunlight streaming through the trees: “hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Yad Vashem in Jerusalem

Share Your Thoughts

Israel: Following in the Footsteps of Jesus

Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives

Both anticipation and trepidation filled my heart as we climbed aboard our motor coach that morning. What would it be like to sit in the Garden of Gethsemane or to walk along the Via Dolorosa? Would it be so crowded with tourists, so cluttered with tacky souvenirs that any sense …

Read More

Israel: Exploring Jerusalem’s Old City Market

We spent a bright, blue-sky day in Old Jerusalem. Not sure how it’s possible, but everything in this incredible city is uphill. I asked one friend back home to specifically pray no one in our group would take a tumble, knowing what a damper that would put on the trip. …

Read More

Israel: We Become Sisters of the Mud

Our fearless leader, Bev, told us we had to bring swimsuits so we could all float in the Dead Sea. No exceptions. Bev is a small woman. Bev doesn’t get it. Plus-size women float in any sea—the Red Sea, the Black Sea, the Dead Sea, the Living Sea. Big girls …

Read More