Highlights from Israel - Part 2
Shalom friends! I'm so glad you made it to part two of the highlights. Well, it’s day four in Israel. It’s also Holocaust Remembrance Day [04.24]. Our first stop was a visit to the Israel Museum. The museum is ranked among the world leading art and archaeology museums. It is the home of the Dead Sea Scrolls and almost 500,000 objects from prehistory to today. After the museum, we made our way to Yad Vashem, Israel’s main holocaust remembrance and education center. On our way there, while we were in the middle of the cross walk, the siren in honor of Yom Hashoa was sounded. Life came to a stand still for everyone in the state. Traffic stopped flowing, people stopped walking, some got out from their cars to paused in silence for two minutes. It was pretty incredible.
After the museum, we made our way to Bethlehem, Palestine. For the Bethlehem tour our driver and tour guide had to be replaced by Palestinians since neither could cross to either state due to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In case you’re wondering I felt safe on both sides of the wall/fence (there are literal walls and fences) and it's devastating to say the least. I’m very aware of the political situation, the senseless killing, oppression and unfair treatment happening. My visit to Israel and Palestine was a privilege because I know that many are denied entry. Thankful that when it comes to knowing Jesus, inclusiveness and love knows no borders or division. While in Bethlehem, we visited the Church of Nativity and the place where Jesus was born.
On day five we visited the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed the night before his betrayal. Afterwards, we made our way to the Western Wall which is the remains of the Second Temple. Many would visit the wall to pray, some would write prayers on pieces of paper and place it between the cracks of the wall believing that God would take heed to their prayers. Some people would touch and kiss the wall. At some point I was staring in amazement of how passionate and committed people are in their prayer life. I also noticed that as some people were leaving they would walk backwards. I asked one woman "why are people walking backwards as they are leaving? She explained, "when you’re in the presence of a king or queen or God, you never want to turn your back towards them." It's a way to show reverence and respect. I was deeply encouraged by all I had seen that day.
We then made our way along Via Dolorosa, the road where Jesus walked as He carried the cross to Golgatha. This was a very special moment for me. I just know that the next time I sing about calvary and the cross, it will have a new and deeper meaning for me. I'm holding on to that.
The day ended with a worship event at Caesarea Maritima.
Day six we set out to visit the fortress of Masada, The Dead Sea and then later the Garden Tomb.
- In 2001 Masada was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is rated as one of the best tourist sites in the world.
- The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth. It expands from Syria to Africa and is the saltiest body of water on earth.
- At the Garden Tomb the greatest love story was told - Jesus is Risen!
If you made it to the end of part 1 and 2 thanks so much for reading. Would love to hear your thoughts and reactions so feel free to leave your questions and comments below.