In addition to the Holocaust Museum which was extremely emotional for me, we visited the Israel Museum and the Shrine of the Book, where we saw the Dead Sea Scrolls and an impressive miniature of New Jerusalem. In Bethlehem we saw the Bethlehem Shop of olive wood carvings. At the City of David archaeological park,we learned about the excavations of King David’s palace and the newly discovered fortresses of Solomon – a place known in the Bible as the “Hall of the Mighty Men.”
Many in the group (not me) were ready and eager to crawl through the waters of the ancient Gihon spring through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the actual tunnel built by King Hezekiah to preserve the water flow to the city when they were under siege. I was emotionally overwhelmed by this point with all the information, the sights, and the scriptural unveilings of battle and victories.
We had some time to visit the marketplace displays and many stores, have lunch in the fresh air and a little friendly banter with the shop owners. I was surprised to see fresh squeezed juice less expensive than bottled juice. The food was ok but expensive. French fries were $8 and lemonade was $7. We later found others haggled price for lunch. We should have. Some of the market displays (like the spices shown below) were amazing.
Farewell Dinner was in a Christian Armenian Restaurant. It was in the old city of Jaffa on the coast near Tel Aviv, where Jonah once tried to flee from God.
The dinner was the usual several courses of varied salads, breads, lamb meatballs, vegetables, and with dessert came a surprise birthday cake with a candle for one of the girls.
Below was one of the restaurant owners’ markers of faith displayed throughout the restaurant
– the Lord’s Prayer.
Goodbye Lego buildings
Goodbye Pool of Bethesda
Goodbye Mediterranean buffet
Goodbye new friends
Knowing this place was the origin of mankind brought a deeper viewpoint into everything we saw, learned and did. This is where my faith began. This is where the first Christians were brought to faith. This is where Jewish God followers were marked and persecuted. Where I stood, those in the spiritual hall of fame (Hebrews) stood for faith in so many ways, and this is where Jesus, the Christ answered all the enemies by sacrificing Himself. For us. For me.
A high point was St. Ann’s Church, hearing and joining in song as we approached St. Ann’s church near the Pool of Bethesda
For a sample… Click the links below on More! and on Singing. The sound cuts off on the first one as there was a respectful silence followed by calls of More! More!
We didn’t want to leave… but the time had come. I am grateful God called Cliff Graham to this ministry, #goodbattletours.com, and gave me an opportunity to see, hear, and know many of the stories of this land. Others who have gone said they were forever changed.
Now I understand.