I can’t even remember where the heck we are anymore!!!  These are 17 hour days, people!!!  But I will say that I know we are still in Israel.  And unfortunately we go home tomorrow.  So…no post tomorrow since our flight will be at 12:55pm…..eek!  But THANKS to my WONDERFUL, WONDERFUL husband, I have the luxury of being in First Class going home and I am going to sleep like a baby!!!

Ok…where were we?  After the Holocaust Museum, it was all downhill for the rest of the day for me.  So here are some highlights from there…

We went to (and this is not in order…I’m grasping for some memory here) to the Southern Steps and over to the Dung Gate.  (stop it. .. that is it’s name.)

And those are the original stones too, people!  Isn’t that amazing?  This is over near the south side of the Temple.  We are walking on the same steps that Jesus and the disciples walked.  CR-AAA-ZZY!!!

Mind blowing….

Susan, myself and Anita enjoying the sunshine (not knowing that it would be freeeeeezing cold and rainy for the last two days!)

Next we went to the Temple Institute and got to see where they are making some of the instruments for the third temple and how they are following the Bible EXACTLY (Exodus 25-28)  They have made the gold Menorah (see pic) and have even made the garments that the High Priest will wear.

I was interested in what the girl was saying about rebuilding the Temple, yet saddened at the same time because she does not believe that Jesus is the Messiah.  She  believes that the Messiah is yet to come…..(sigh)

It’s a little blurry because she was quite animated, but you can see the mannequin in the background wearing the priestly garments….well, you can kinda see him.

Next, on to St. Peter in Gallicantu.  This is a church that is overlooking the Kidron Valley and is built over the traditional site of the house of the high priest, Caiaphas.  Jesus was betrayed and arrested in the Garden of Gethsesame and was brought to his house.  Here is where He spent the entire night and it was also the scene of His first trial. (Matt 26:57-63, Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:63-71, John 18:12-14)  Remember that Peter denied Christ THREE times before the rooster crowed?  Well, this is where the whole thing went down…

The church was built by the Assumptionist Fathers in 1931 and these steps in the hillside are believed to date from the time of Christ.  This pathway is the shortest way from Gethsemane to the upper city and is believed that this is EXACTLY the steps that Jesus walked on………..wowsers..

What’s really cool is that when I went in 2009, we were able to walk down those same steps that Jesus walked on and now they have blocked it off so no one can do that anymore.  But I did….so… yo’ face!

This is the Dungeon/Pit where they brought Jesus after He was arrested.  We had a reading from the Bible and a prayer and it left us all with chill bumps.  I had to touch the walls, wondering if this is where Jesus also laid His hand….

I leave you with that feeling….very emotional knowing that Jesus was being held in this tiny pit……

israel…day 4

Oh boy!  Are we getting info overload!!!  This has been so much fun and I can’t wait to get all my pictures together for ya’ll to see.  Where to start now?

Well first I met the greatest young man ever, Scott Stilwell. He is so amazing, I can’t even put it into words! (Ok...I was in the shower while my roomies son came in and typed on my computer!!  But I will say….he just might be the greatest young man ever! )  🙂

Today we started out by going to Massada.  I highly encourage you to see the movie (made in the 60’s) it’s a very interesting story/movie.  It’s located about 2.5 miles from the western shore of the Dead Sea.  It’s a huge rock fortress  and is about 1/2 mile long and rises 2,000 feet above the level of the Dead Sea.  (don’t I take good notes?) In the year 40 BC, Herod the Great built a huge fortress on the top of Massada to protect himself from the Jews.  It had an 18 foot high wall with 38 towers, each 75 ft high.

Long story short, the Romans tried to storm the fortress but were beaten back, because it was well defended.  So they built a battering ram….not to mention a RAMP to roll it down and this was the beginning of the end.  So the Jews knew they were going to die and they decided to die free men… other words, they decided to kill themselves so they wouldn’t be enslaved to the Romans.  960 people died…….

There is SOOO much more to that story and is best for you to do a little google.  (I don’t have enough battery, my friends).

Next we went to En Gedi, where David and his men hid out in a cave when they were running from King Saul.  It’s believed that David wrote some of his psalms while he was in this area.  The area is fed by fresh water springs and was known in the time of King Solomon as a fragrant spa (woo hoo!) with a waterfall and tropical vegetation.  When we got there, a group of girls were swimming in the waterfall area and were having so much fun… full clothing……

Think that was the cave???  Well, they don’t know which one because there are so many, so I’m going to say…..’yes’…, that’s all I know about that.

Or…..maybe it was that one…..I don’t know….

Ok, then we were off to Qumran.  This is the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by two Bedouin shepherd boys.  They found 7 pots containing scrolls of ancient biblical texts.  The scrolls are believed to be over 2000 years old and were hidden by the Essenes (those jokesters) before the Romans invaded the area to go attack Masada.  P.S.  The scrolls are on exhibit in Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book in the Israel museum.

That was a cool pic because it is one of the bath areas…just another ritual….but I like to think of it as a hot tub experience….

Then we were off to Jericho to see the ‘where the walls came a tumblin’ down’……..(ok, I just sang the last part of a Sunday School song).  Jericho is one of the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited cities and also the most excavated…..however….I only took one photo, because I got a little distracted by a Palestinian man that was selling necklaces..  So, three necklaces later, the bus was leaving.  Some people in the group gave two little children a dollar bill each and all of a sudden EVERY kid in the neighborhood was surrounding the bus!  I thought I was going to have to get physical….but since they were toddlers, I let them go without incident…

We stopped giving money when we figured we were funding something bigger than what we might think….(spooooooky).

But let’s not forget the Dead Sea!!!  No, I didn’t float, but I got tons of pics of people that did!!!

I normally just get my mud from Nordstrom Spa.  I didn’t know that I could have flown to Philly, then to Tel Aviv and then to the Dead Sea and maybe I could have saved us some money…..

And p.s…the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.  It’s actually a lake and its shrinking every year because of irrigation in the north as well as mineral refineries that are adjacent to the Sea.  It’s about 11 miles wide and about 40 miles long.

So….that didn’t finish the day because we’ve decided that after dinner we are going to hit the town of Jerusalem.  How many people can say that?  I can’t wait…’s awesome.

Toodles and will talk to you soon!!!

israel…day 3

Wow.  Information overload!  I didn’t even get around to telling you everything we did yesterday and am excited to even tell you about today too!

But first…..SORRY I couldn’t post more pictures yesterday!  I was SO upset that my computer had no battery and it was late and EVERYONE in the hotel was on the free Wi-Fi thingy.  So, where were we?

OH!  Baptisms in the River Jordan.  Weren’t those little marmut (beaver looking things) CREEPY???  They were floating everywhere, but that didn’t stop us from baptisms!!!

Isn’t that awesome?  Look how many people are getting baptized!  It was a very special time and the water was very cold…..

Next we were on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.  This is my favorite place (other than the city of Jerusalem) because most of the miracles that Jesus performed are in and around this area.

It is such a peaceful area and was one of everyone’s favorite part of the tour.  We boarded our boat and had Michaelangelo and Don sing, while Jeff gave a brief sermon.   This picture is dedicated to my friend, Glenda!!!  Woo Hoo!

Here is a picture of the North side of the River Jordan…where it comes off (ok, actually UNDER)  Mt. Heron and flows into the River Jordan.   Not too many people get that picture but we made our tour guide pull over and let us get out!  (Thanks, Sameer!)

THEN…..and this is really cool…..when Jesus healed the two demon possessed men and drove the demons into the herd of pigs.  (Matthew 8:28-34) Well, people…this is the cliff where those pigs rushed down the steep bank and into the lake!  Because they put in a road, the cliff isn’t as steep….but it’s still a really cool place.

HA!!  I never noticed that someone is sitting at the bottom of the picture!  (But I don’t think it is a demon possessed man or pig…soo…it’s cool…)

It was sooo beautiful at sunset.  We also visited the Mount of Beatitudes where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount and Megiddo which dated back to 4000 BC.  The city owas fortified by King Solomon and was made one of his chariot cities.  It  consists of TWENTY layers of civilization…each one built upon the last!  Isn’t that crazy???  We entered on the 11th level, and to put it into perspective, King David’s reign was on the 16th level.  Hmm…..where were the elevators, I wondered?

Well, we went down, down, down to the lowest level  where there was a water shaft.  It was there way to get water to the Kings palace without leaving the city walls.  There are 183 steps leading down into the 120ft shaft to a tunnel that stretches another 215 feet….(Once I got down there, I found this RED BUTTON …..BUT I didn’t push it….and it took every thing in my body, because I really wanted to see what it would do…) For some reason I can’t download that picture of my finger hovering over the button!  O Well!!!

I will leave you with the city lights of Jerusalem!  It is SOOOOOOO gorgeous here and we are in our final hotel in Jerusalem.  It’s late…and I have to go to bed!  I can’t wait for you to see everything!!!

We are kissing you good night!!!!!