We started our day with a visit to the Israel Museum. One of the highlights was the scale model of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus, the model was completed a few months before the 1967 6-day war, in which Israel regained control of Jerusalem. We also visited the shrine of the book which normally houses the originals of the Dead Sea scrolls found in the caves of Qumran. Unfortunately there were no originals out today but even the copies were amazing.
The Museum is huge, our guide told us even if you gave everything only a part of a second you would need 3 days. We spread out and visited several different wings, Archaeology, Jewish Art and Life, Synagogue, and various Art exhibits. We even found a coffee shop.
After the Museum we went to the Mount of Olives where we had lunch at a restaurant with a beautiful view and then drove to another spot for a panoramic view of the Old City, with large domes at holy sites for the Christians, Muslims and Jews.
In the picture you can see the Eastern Gate behind and towards the right of the group. In the 1500’s an Ottoman ruler blocked the gate shut and placed a cemetery in front to prevent the Messiah from entering the Temple by the Eastern Gate. I am so glad to know that Nothing can prevent our King of Kings from returning victoriously.
After the lookout we walked down the Palm Sunday Way (the road down the Mt of Olives toward Jerusalem) and came to the Church of All Nations. It is a large basilica built around a rock that is the traditional site where Jesus prayed. It has amazing architecture and some 4th century mosaic floor now protected with glass.
We left the church and walked through the nearby gardens, they contained very old olive trees and a wine press was found near here, so while we don’t know the exact location, this is the area where Jesus prayed
We got a private corner of one of the gardens and had a small service to remember Jesus’ sacrifice for us, and though about what it was that He wrestled with in the Garden. We sang several songs together and it was possibly my favorite part so far. We could see the Eastern Gate from our corner and it was amazing to be in community in that place, celebrating and remembering Jesus’ death while knowing that He lives and will return.
Following our time in the garden we went to Yaffa Gate to briefly explore more Old City shops then up to Soldiers Square for a picture with the Jerusalem sign. After dinner a few of us rode the train to a popular shopping area and watched it come alive as Shabbat ended.