As we pray at the 7th Station of the Cross, we hear the call to worship from the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the 3rd most holiest Muslim mosque in the world. It is 4h30 in the morning and we are praying the Stations in the Old City. We are on our way to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre where Jesus was laid in the tomb. We sing Jesus Remember Me.
We enter the church and there is the 15th Station the Resurrection. We approach the tomb building inside with reverence. We go into it and there is a small second chamber where Jesus body was laid. Marie reads at Mass. Then I am invited in too and we receive the Eucharist inside the tomb chamber. It is an amazing moment and Fr Susai snaps pictures of us kissing the Jesus tomb.
We leave and hike up the stairs to Cavalry. This is the actual place where Jesus was nailed to the cross. We visit Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb. He was Jesus benefactor who offered one of his family’s tombs for Jesus with Pontius Pilate’s permission. We kneel and touch the spot. Then we head out the Jaffa Gate and there is our bus. It’s now 7h10 – what a well organized outing.
After breakfast we head to the Bethesda pools, the place of healing. John 5. Jesus heals the sick man on the Sabbath and then explains that he is equal to God the Father. He warns the healed man not to sin again as there will be judgement. Another pilgrim group from Brazil appears as we sit in front of the Basilica of St Anne – there have been many. We snap pictures of the original now dry baths and visit the Virgin Mary’s birthplace beneath the church.
Then on to the Wailing Wall via the Dung Gate. On Mondays and Thursdays (today) there are a lot of barmitzvahs and activity. The Jews come here to cry over the destruction of their two Temples (384 BC by Babylonians, 70 CE by Romans). Muslims arrive in 638 CE and take over Jerusalem. As non-Muslims we can approach the wall and take photos but are not allowed up on the Temple Mount itself located above, where the Dome of the Rock shrine and Al-Aqsa Mosque are.
We descend inti the arcalogical park at the SW corner. We see huge blocks put in place by Herod the Great in 20 BC Also the Roman road with big stones throughn down during the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE!!! We gaze at the teaching steps where Jesus taoght the Disciples. Then we hear the call to worship below the mosque along with the barmyzvah bands.. It is truly erie – this crossroads between 3 major religions!!!
We’ve had it. It’s noon and time to go back to our hotel to chill before checking out tomorrow for Jordan. Only 3 days left, you may be happy to know!