We stayed the night at Ein Geidi and took the bus along the Dead Sea up to Jerusalem.
We dropped our bags at the hotel and began our journey. We walked through the streets of old Jerusalem and to a rooftop where we could see each quarter of the city. We could see outside the city to the Mount of Olives and began walking up.
The mount is covered with tombs and we visited a small chapel, sang, prayed and took pics of the city.
On the way down we saw the Garden of Gethsemane (we plan to revisit this site tomorrow.) Mark Moore reminded us that when Absalom chased David out of the city, he paused halfway up the Mount of Olives, and Jesus paused going down to recapitulate the brokenness of King David and his son. This was Jesus’ triumph entry. As we reached the city gate in the Muslim quarter, we ate lunch and then started down the Via Dolorosa.
It was the first two stops that hit me like a ton of bricks. One place marks the spot of his trial before the Roman Governor -Pilate. Between the first stop and the second was a large stone that was used to tie the hands of prisoners before being flogged. It was at this point I began to feel the weight of what I was observing. I imagined Jesus’ body bound to this rock and I couldn’t get the image out of my head. We walked into another chapel that commemorates the flogging and taking up his cross. On the mosaic floor was a game board used for gambling by the Romans. We had seen these in other Roman cities earlier in the week. I know they gambled for his clothes later, but I felt so uneasy and sad. I didn’t really want to finish the journey down the path. It was not enjoyable. It was emotionally exhausting for me.
We continued down the path with the stations of the cross… the places he stumbled, the weeping women, Simon of Cyrene helps carry the cross, he’s nailed to the cross, and prepared for burial. I know this is not an exhaustive list, but the path ended at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.
This symbol/image is in the church and the only one that gave me strength… it reveals the cross of Christ, the rod they beat him with, the spear they used to pierce his side, and includes Greek letters for Jesus Christ on the top and NIKA on the bottom- He Conquered!!
We later walked the wall around part of the city and visited the Tomb of David. While we don’t know for sure where the upper room is/was, we sat in a room that would have been similar.
After dinner, we went to the West wall to join our Jewish friends in praying for the peace of Jerusalem.
Here is the video of our walking tour. Even though we stayed fairly close by, we still walked over seven miles today.