The Holy City
Today, we began our journey Southward toward the Holy city, Jerusalem. The first stop along the way was at the archaeological site of Beit Shean. Everyone had a great time exploring these ancient ruins yielding Old Testament and 3rd, 4th, and 5th century AD treasures. Some of our group even braved the steep hike up to the top of the Tel to see the oldest site. It provided the most incredible view of the entire area. Personally, I worked up an appetite for ice cream on the way out.
Our next stop was one of my personal favorites. We stopped to dip our hands in Gideon’s Spring. This was a good reminder for all of us that God calls us to follow Him into battle against the worlds ways with His strength. Each of us had some time to reflect and pray about our own personal struggles in thinking that we don’t have enough resources to obey God. Personally, I remembered of a very difficult challenge that our church is facing. So, I took the opportunity to gather a couple of the staff and church leaders to solidify our faith in prayer. Those who wanted were able to take a stone from the water of the spring as a memorial reminder.
After driving by Jericho, we headed up to Jerusalem. The anticipation built as we ascended the Holy Mountain hearing Susan’s description of the timeless treasure this city provides. Finally, we crested the top and got our first glorious glimpse of the Temple Mount. There were tears of joy. The excitement was literally palpable in the bus as we beheld the very site where Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his own son…The threshing floor and land that David purchased from Ornan the Jebusite…the place where Solomon built the Holy Temple. It was amazing.
We then spent some time on the Mount of Olives looking and talking about the Temple Mount and the City of David. After touring a few beautiful churches, we entered into a very private portion of the Garden of Gethsemane. It was here that we each stood, knelt, or prayed by one of the ancient olive trees and identified with Jesus’ plea with the Father to remove Him from the pain that was to come. We all committed to letting God press our own will out and fill us with His. This very emotional day ended with…you guessed it, ice cream.