Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Jerusalem from the Mountain

Mountain Views of the Old City of Jerusalem, Tuesday, Feb 5

Today’s objective, with the help of a lecture this morning on the history of Jerusalem, was to get an overview and a “mountain” view of the Holy City.

The first stop we made was above the Kidron valley, to the right of the Mount of Olives, looking down unto the Temple Mount.

Dome of the Rock

What stands out most as one looks down upon the Temple Mount is the golden Dome of the Rock. At the Dome of the Rock, Abraham, father of Jews, Christians and Arabs, made his great act of submission in his willingness not to sacrifice his son.

Also to be seen just beyond the Temple Mount is the Dome of Church of the Resurrection, which is built above the tomb that Jesus was buried in and rose from.

Dome of the Church of the Resurrection

Between where we were standing and the Temple Mount, was the Kidron valley, which, after Jesus' entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, he would have to walk through on his way to Gethsemene on the Mount of Olives, where he prayed before being arrested. 

Kidron Valley

Gethsemene on the Mount of Olives

Our next stop was the other side of the mountain on which Jerusalem is built, and it looked out into the Judean Desert. This is the place that David would have fled from Absolom; it is where Jesus prayed and fasted for 40 days and 40 nights.

Judean Desert

In the process of getting an overview of the Holy City today, this was the vantage point that  I appreciated the most. And especially with Lent so near. This is the place that Jesus retreated to after being baptized by John in the River Jordan. 

The other thing that stood out for me today was the wall that separates Israel from Palestine. I’ve seen it enough times on the TV. But it different seeing it for yourself. It is a sad symbol of two culture's unwilling to reconcile with one another.

The wall dividing Palestine and Israel

Yet Jesus, at a deeper level, has revealed to all people, that there is nothing that can separate us from one another or from God. There is a Divine Love within us that unites us and makes us one - no wall can stop that!

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