Day 5Janet wrote: “I was awake very early, although I had managed quite a bit of sleep.… I was in the dining room around 7am. Unfortunately, because it was the Sabbath everything was cold and there was only ‘the weird and the wonderful’ to eat. I tried all sorts of cold fish, cheeses, etc., and ‘salads’. Yuk, mostly. Not really the sort of stuff I fancy of a morning — or any time, really. However, I enjoyed the cereal, bread and jam, fruit and cakes. Coffee — and the juice — were crap! I returned to our room at 8am to find [John] gone. He appeared a few minutes later. He’d gone down to join me.”
After breakfast we will start our tour of Jerusalem by boarding the coach and making our way to the Garden of Gethsemane. We will continue to Dung Gate and the Western Wall and then stroll through the streets and alleyways of the Old City, as well as many other sites so famous here.
 Without exception, in Israel, all the fruit juice that we were offered on arrival at hotels, or that was available from dispensers, was watered down. And none of the coffee was flavoursome or aromatic — with the exception of a sachet I used in the bedroom of one of our previous hotels: I thought it was instant coffee, but it proved to contain coffee-grounds; and it was very tasty, and enjoyable once I’d let the grounds settle to the bottom of the cup.Yes, ca.8am I did go down, but not seeing Janet there I didn’t want to breakfast on my own — or worse, be forced to face alone people whom I didn’t know or barely knew — so I made a swift escape. I was not desperate to eat; perhaps it was the taking of codeine, along with other pain medications, which caused the feeling of fullness much of the time that only something really appetising could overcome. “Around 8.45am,” Janet wrote, “we boarded the coach for a tour of Jerusalem. Another HOT and sunny day. Our first stop was the Mount of Olives, just above the Jewish cemetery. We had an amazing panoramic view of Jerusalem from there. It was good to go today after seeing that model of old Jerusalem yesterday.” We arrived there via the adjacent Mount Scopus, the site of the Hebrew University campus. We descended, I had the impression, quite some distance from the summit of the Mount of Olives to our stopping place and vantage point, just above the very large Jewish cemetery. “Why would people want to be buried on the Mount of Olives?” asked Eric, who was back as our guide today. “To be near the angels?” someone suggested. I replied, “Because it’s the place where Messiah will come” — which Eric confirmed to be the right answer. The resurrection is held to begin at the place where Messiah comes, hence the desire to be buried there. I had in mind Zechariah 14:3–4:
Then the LORD will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. I’d have liked to discuss with Eric who exactly is in view here, for the antecedent to “his feet”, which I took to be Messiah’s, is “the LORD” — arguably a proof-text for the Messiah being the LORD himself — but that opportunity didn’t arise. I did ask whether there was any geological fault or anything that would indicate the splitting in two, but Eric said not.
09:30:10 View even further south of the above, showing the location of the City of David (the original Mount Zion)
09:32:10 The hill now known as Mount Zion, with Hagia Maria Sion Abbey — or Basilica of the Assumption (or Dormition) — on the horizon
After that we boarded the coach again, and went down to the Garden of Gethsemane, near the bottom of the valley on the east side. I saw a lizard emerge from a hollow in the olive tree photographed at 10:13:28 and scuttle down the bark to the ground.
09:37:30 The northernmost part of the Old City wall. The golden dome of the Russian Orthodox Church of Maria Magdalene, on the Mount of Olives side of the Kidron Valley, is just visible (lower right).
10:17:28 View from Gethsemane, across the Kidron Valley, of the Golden Gate and just the very top of the Dome of the Rock
10:25:50 Zoomed-in view of the end of the right aisle of the Church of All Nations
UT ERGO DIXIT EIS EGO SUM ABIERUNT
RETRORSUM ET CECIDERUNT IN TERRAM
[John 18:6:] When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew
back and fell to the ground.
10:26:12 View to the left of there of the altar. It enshrines a section of bedrock where Jesus is said to have prayed before his arrest (hidden by the crowds in this photo).
10:33:38 “Eddie Lizzard” in the north-western corner of Gethsemane as we passed
11:10:40 View right from there: Al-Aqsa Mosque at the southern end of the Temple Mount, and the Mount of Olives (background)
The lower part of the wall was constructed of very large — high and long — stone blocks, becoming shorter but perhaps just as high farther up. The top third of the wall was of more “standard” sized blocks. There were bushy plants growing out between the blocks in several places, and I wondered whether they might be the biblical “hyssop” (1 Kings 4:33): “[Solomon] spoke of trees, from the cedar that is in Lebanon to the hyssop that grows out of the wall.” We found somewhere to sit to rest my aching feet. We’d agreed to meet up at a certain time; then we proceeded along a kind of “tunnel” in the wall on the north side of the square. Janet later reported seeing blood spattered on the ground and up the wall at one point. The tunnel was the start of el-Wad/ha-Gai Street; and back in the open air, we proceeded along narrow el-Wad Street, under many flying buttresses and arches, as it threaded through the Muslim Quarter to its intersection with the Via Dolorosa. We turned left into this, passing through more flying buttresses, arches, and also covered markets. Everywhere was very crowded, and there were also people grouping around market-stalls whom we had to circumamubulate, so it was a struggle to keep with our party and snap some kind of photo-record as we proceeded. Janet wrote: “It was during that trek that I had a very bad panic attack and wept.” That may have been in the vicinity of the “sebil” (Ottoman public drinking fountain) on the corner of el-Wad Street and Ala’ e-Din; I think Elizabeth helped her.
11:58:58 A “sebil” (Ottoman public drinking fountain) on the corner of el-Wad Street and Ala’ e-Din. Michael and Elizabeth are there in front of the arch.
12:02:48 Approaching from the left, we join the Via Dolorosa. On the corner, the Franciscan chapel of Simon of Cyrene: the inscription reads “V ST. SIMONI CYRENAEO CRUX IMPONITUR” — “5th St[ation of the Cross]: The Cross is put on Simon of Cyrene.”
12:08:12 Via Dolorosa. Almost missed the 6th Station of the Cross (left): the Greek Roman Catholic “Church of the Holy Face and Saint Veronica”, where St. Veronica supposedly wiped the face of Jesus, the image of which was imprinted in the cloth.
12:23:08 Entrance to the Coptic Patriarchate, where a Roman pillar to the left marks the 9th Station of the Cross (“Jesus falls the third time”)
12:24:28 Courtyard of the Ethiopian Deir al-Sultan monastery on the roof of the St. Helena Chapel, whose dome this is
12:28:42 Minaret of the Mosque of Omar at the opposite end of the courtyard from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
 It was perhaps a little before that, judging by the photo, below, timed as “13:29:58” — and allowing time to walk to the restaurant, get settled, place our order, get drinks, then for me to get up and take the photo.
 Again, it was perhaps a little before that — we’re heading for the coach in the photo of “14:45:22”, and we’re out again about to enter The Garden Tomb at “15:51:54”.
Friday 2 November 2012). “We set off on our own,” Janet continued. “([John] had done really well again today. As usual his feet were very painful.…) It was SO good to be on our own and doing this at our own pace. There was no pressure to keep up with anyone. We simply strolled along and enjoyed the experience. We found some small shops and bought a couple of ice lollies — TWO SHEKELS! WOW! — for both of them. We noticed this shop also had chill cabinets of drinks so we decided to call back there on our way “home”. We reached The Garden Tomb, which was established in 1893 by the Garden Tomb Association by an independent British charitable trust. No admission [charge]. Everyone was polite and helpful. This is an amazing place. There were actually a lot of people there but somehow it didn’t feel crowded. It is a beautiful, peaceful place, with well maintained gardens. We could hear birds singing. There were flowers in bloom. There were lots of benches to sit on. So far, neither of us had connected with any of the so-called ‘religious sites’ we’d seen (although it WAS very interesting to go) but we did with this place. We do realise it only COULD be the garden of Joseph of Arimathea but we sat on a bench and [John] related what happened and we both wept together.” We sat not far from the tomb and I started to tell the story of Mary Magdalene as related in John, but in that place it made me cry.
13:29:58 View of the Dome of the Rock and beyond it the summit of the Mount of Olives from the roof-terrace of the restaurant
…She turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
 That compensated us, we felt, for being ripped off in the restaurant earlier.
“We then went to Skull Hill,” Janet continued, “and joined a group from America. It was great to listen to that preacher, who was very passionate.” There was a covered raised area, a vantage point for the rocky cliff of Skull Hill. The American visitors and their pastor were Southern Baptists. (“Amen, Pastor!”) His message covered the same ground as what I’d just done. He also mentioned that in the Law the burnt offering was to be sacrificed on the north side of the altar: (Leviticus 1:10–11:) “If his gift for a burnt offering is from the flock, from the sheep or goats, he shall bring a male without blemish, and he shall kill it on the north side of the altar before the LORD…” This site was north of the temple, whereas the traditional site was on the west (not, he emphasised, that we rely on such locations as the basis for our faith; as far as that’s concerned, it matters not where the crucifixion, entombment and resurrection occurred, only that they did and why).Wednesday 31 October 2012. The connection between this site and baptism came to me, and I attempted to quote as much of Romans 6:3–4 as I could remember, not very adequately:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.Afterwards, the thought of having done that made me feel ashamed and embarrassed. But I guess I felt it was the right thing to do at the time, even if it was a blunder on my part. NIV, without section headings, but with an overall introduction and introductions to each of the books. It was a “rooster” version, i.e. unanglicised. Wikipedia sums The Garden Tomb up perfectly:
One unquestionable virtue of the site is that it is far more similar to the scene that would have been experienced at the time than the Church of the Holy Sepulchre presents; for that reason it is worth a visit, whether or not it is actually the site concerned.“After that, we set off for the hotel,” Janet wrote, “stopping off at ‘our shop’ for bottles of Diet Coke, Fanta, apple juice, and cans of Diet Coke: 37 shekels for the lot! We ‘got lost’ briefly but arrived back ‘home’ at 5.30pm.” We thought we were retracing our outward steps — after all, it was only a matter of keeping straight on — but we found ourselves joining a main road; and instead of turning left off the road to get to the hotel, we had to bear right off the main road. “It had been wonderful at the Garden [Tomb],” Janet wrote. “It had really lifted our spirits. [John] had been VERY upset earlier, and unhappy (which made me unhappy) and wanted to go home.” I know that sometimes the pain, difficulty and frustration I experienced got the better of me and I went into black moods of agitation and depression, but I don’t remember this one specifically. “At 6pm we went for dinner,” Janet wrote. “[John] decided he couldn’t face it and returned to the room. I had a good tuck in — LOTS of scrummy desserts! I snaffled two fancy bread rolls and a couple of apples for [John] as I knew he’d enjoy them. And he did! Along with some fruit and nut chocolate!” I transferred today’s photos to the “little feller” and edited the first three (with four cropped and higher-definition details from one of them) (18:41–18:52). This is Janet’s account of the evening’s outing: “At 7.30pm we went down to the lobby and joined our party. We boarded the coach and headed for the Tower of David Museum, Jerusalem, for a Sound and Light Night Spectacular. Initially, I didn’t fancy going, but I’m glad I did. It lasted 45 minutes and was AWESOME! It was outside and it wasn’t cold. I’d never seen anything like it in my life. It was truly amazing and made my jaw drop.” The coach dropped us more or less where it had set us down earlier, so we retraced our walk, now with the aid of street-lights not daylight, up steps, across the bridge over the main road, through the Jaffa Gate (or I think, perhaps, this time, through the gap to the right of it), and round to the right, stopping at the booking office before the boardwalk bridge leading to the public entrance. We had to wait in a fairly abundant queue of people, both to receive our tickets from Norman, with a descriptive card, and because the double (glass?) doors of the entrance were shut. It was getting so close to the start time that I thought we’d not get in in time. The way to the seating area led right round the daytime exhibition site. I was offered a direct way down by an attendant, but I declined because it was down a ramp which I figured would be more difficult than the first way. Anyway, we did get seated in time. Some of the Japanese members of the audience ignored the ban on photography. It was hard to visualise before the floodlights went down how any kind of show could possibly be projected, but it was done very effectively onto every visible part of the castle, and seemed to fit the various planes and angles of the walls and structures. The music and the sound quality were good too.
Back at the hotel, Janet wrote, “I had a shower and sat on the bed for a while then finally ‘got my head down’ around 10.45pm. Today had been really good ever since we left the hotel on our own to go to The Garden Tomb. [John] was still up, working on his computer.” I edited 37 images from today (some of these cropped, higher-definition details from other images) using the
[Sunday 4 November 2012]
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