We started out the day at Gethsemane. You have to walk down a really steep hill to get there – the one the people laid palm branches, shouting “hosanna” as Jesus came riding into Jerusalem. You can see much of the city from the top – quite impressive.
The Mt of Olives is near there also. I’ve learned a lot about olive trees since I’ve been here – they’re pretty impressive trees. Craig spoke to us and then we split up into family or single units, each found an olive tree and spent a precious time praying. Just so each of the Ragles and Longs know (our immediate and sibling units) – each of your names have been spoken in prayer on the Mt. of Olives.
Lunch was provided for us today by the Imagine tour group – a nice touch on their behalf. We had some kind of BBQ.
We visited Caiaphas’ house and saw the “cave/holding cell” Jesus was most likely kept in awaiting His trial. Craig spoke to us from Ps. 88 there.
Following this we headed to Bethlehem. We had to drop Hezi off and pick up an Arab guide as it is dangerous for any Jewish guide to go into Arab controlled territory – they fear being kidnapped and being held as ransom for terrorists. We spent some time shopping at a Arab Christian run shop that employs/helps Christians. A little pricey, but we are told it helps the Christians.
The next stop was at the Church of the Nativity/Manager. It was very commercialized and although I’m glad we saw it, it didn’t interest me a lot b/c of the commercialization. But it was a good “visual” for me at our next stop – Shepherd’s Field (A.K.A Ruth’s Field) where Craig shared Luke 2 and challenged us not to become commercialized Christians, but instead to be sure our relationship with Christ is real and that that is what people see.
On the way back, we stopped and picked Hezi up and then went to the Shrine of the Book and Museum of Israel where we saw things from the Dead Sea scrolls.
Hezi and Romi (Arab bus driver) dropped us off at a shopping district not too far from the hotel. Here we met “Shabon,” Craig’s good friend who gives us good deals. J He insisted on serving us all tea before shopping. We walked back to the hotel, had supper and are once again exhausted. J Tomorrow starts very early and we have another full day, so I’ll say good night.