Our day started earlier today as we left at 7:30am for the Zion Gate. Our first stop, after passing through security, was going up to the temple platform where the Dom of the Rock stands. Out of respect for the month of Ramadan we did not drink any water while we were there. We were able to take a close look at the Dom of the Rock but only from the outside. It is quite breath taking to see it in person knowing how much work has been put into it. The platform currently is much larger than it was during the time of Jesus but it gave us an idea where some of the biblical stories might have occurred. Archeologists have determined that on a specific corner (I believe northwest) was where the Romans had their barracks to which Paul was taken to when he was arrested in Acts 22.
In the surrounding areas they also have Doms that represent/commemorate something, like this one represents how Jesus spoke with the leaders and teachers when he was a small boy.
After visiting the temple grounds we went to the pool of Bethesda where Jesus healed the blind man. Right next to it stands the Basilica of St. Ann, named after the mother of Mary. The acoustic was amazing as we used the opportunity to sing a couple of songs inside. Outside we then took some time to pray for the current situation in Israel as many innocent people are victims of the violence that is going on in some parts of the country and in Gaza.
Our final stop for the morning field trip was a museum where they have discovered and dug out some old foundations from houses that were built during the Herodian time. We were able to see the ritual cleaning baths inside of them which indicates that they must have belonged to the wealthy class because only they could afford to have their own inside a house. They also had some plates and stone jugs displayed that they used during that time.
The most fascinating aspect that I learned today was the task of the ritual baths that the people had to take as well as items such as cooking utensils, jugs and other things. This was a reason why they had items made out of stone because the Rabbi’s had determined that you only had to wash them in living water to clean them and didn’t have to throw them away like with clay items.
That’s all for today, check back tomorrow to see what we have experienced then!
Please pray for Israel and the Gaza strip.