Monday, March 27, 2017

Day 13 Monday: From the Depths to the Deep

Yad Vashem.  It means a place and a name.  It is a memorial to the Holocaust.  The main building is slanted to convey going into the depths of hell.  Over 6 million Jews entered into the depths of a hellish reality.  We did emotionally too.  This was the start of our day.  We walked with them as anti-semitism rose, and no one said anything.  We heard and saw how the Nazis herded the Jews into ghettos, and no one said anything.  We teared up as we followed them into the concentration camps and eventually the gas chambers and no one said anything.  The world stood silent as a people were facing genocide. The children's memorial there was the last part of our visit.  Hearing the names being read of the one and a half million children who died was sobering.

We had an early lunch in the German quarter of the city.  Falafel for some.  Pizza or salad for others. Coffee for some of us.  We then headed for the City of David.  (No, not Bethlehem).  The original Jebusite city that David conquered and made his capital was only about 13 acres, located between the Kidron and Tyropean valleys below Mount Moriah. Recent archeological finds confirmed this as the probable site for the palace of the Davidic dynasty.  Some of us walked the famed Hezekiah's tunnel, a water tunnel that runs almost a half mile from the area of the Gihon spring to the pool of Siloam.  Hezekiah had his engineers dig deep into the bedrock to route water into the city to protect it from the coming invasion of the Assyrians. This was an exhilarating experience.  We met the rest of the group there and then went by bus to the Davidson Center near the Southern Wall.

This part of our journey as much or more than any other would qualify us to sing the song, "I walked today where Jesus walked."  We stood on the first century street walked by all those going up to the Temple or down through the city to the Pool of Siloam.  We saw the large stones that evidence the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.  They crashed down off the platform onto the street below and have remained there since.  We sat on the steps used by every pilgrim going up to offer sacrifices three times each year.  Somewhere on these stairs was where Mary and Joseph found their twelve year old son sitting and interacting with teachers when his parents found Him missing.  We took a group photo sitting on these stairs.

Part of the group then returned to the hotel and part of the group was dropped near the Jaffa Gate and walked to the Christian Quarter to do some final shopping. Ask Pastor Mike about his experience. :-)

But we weren't done yet.  After supper we walked back to the area of the Jaffa Gate to David's Citadel.  We went in and witnessed a laser light show that used lights and music to show us Jerusalem from creation to the present day.  It was enjoyable.

Our final day in the Holy Land awaits us tomorrow.

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