Saturday, September 06, 2008
Israel: Day 4, Gethsemane
Today we went to the Garden of Gethsemane and walked the Via Dolorosa. These are two of the "must see" sights in Jerusalem. Is was very crowded by the time we hit the narrow streets of the Via Dolorosa (stations of the cross). Gethsemane was a powerful experience. We had private access to a section of the garden that my uncle had reserved far in advance. Again the geography of the whole area opened up so many realizations about what Jesus did and where he did it. The time in the garden included a half hour of quiet prayer. The photo above is from the small chapel at the Mount of Olives, above the garden of Gethsemane. Some of the olive trees are 2000 years old in the garden. I was able to get some branches from the gardener (who cuts intentionally for the private guests in the garden), these are mainly for my dad.
Below is a video overview of Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives. The video scans the old city (it's current size is much larger than what you see here). The ancient wall, reconstructed over the last 2000 years by many different groups, can be seen. The done of the rock, the golden gate where the Messiah is supposed to enter according to Ezekiel. Then the camera shows the valley called Gehenna, or hell. It's where the Canaanites (some say Israelites) sacrificed infants. If you remember Abraham being told by God to sacrifice Isaac, his son, it's believed that they were in this valley and went up to the spot where the temple was eventually built. But God said no and forever made a distinction in the Hebrew faith that they would not sacrifice their babies like the Canaanites did. I'm so glad God did that, aren't you? It is a strange story if you don't know that it was normal to kill your children for the gods back then. I have so much more that I want to write, but I'm tired and in need of some rest. Just of from Gehenna is a massive 70,000 person grave yard of Jews. They are in this place because when the Messiah comes he will come over these hills toward the city (just like Jesus did on the donkey) and go through the golden gates. They beleive they'll be the first ones to be raised from the dead and join the Messiah. They're waiting for his first entrance, we're waiting for the second. In many ways our hope for the coming of the Messiah sounds very much the same. This grave yard many hundreds of years old. Finally, the camera shows the green trees of Gethsemane.