Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dome of the Rock, Southern Wall, and Bethseda

The rock in the Dome of the Rock is the stone that Muhammad supposedly ascended from and it is also the stone that they claim that Abraham was going to sacrifice Ishmael on, that is because they claim the promise through Ishmael and not Isaac.  After the Muslims captured the city they built the Dome over the sight of church which had been built over the sight of a Roman temple to Jupiter which had been built over Harod's temple which was built over the sight of the 2nd temple which was built over the sight of Solomon's temple.  We only got to stay for about 40 minutes because all non Muslims had to leave during the 2:30 prayers.  The mosque is truly breathtaking and is something to behold irregardless of your religious convictions.

After the Dome of the Rock we went over to the Southern Wall excavation sight.  The stones were quite impressive.  The view from the processional stairs was great.  They were the same stairs that Christ would have given some of his discourses and parables and also where Paul would have been educated.  Matthew 23 takes on a much clearer meaning when read at those steps.  For from there one can see the tombs on the Mount of Olives and the hills surrounding the temple help to enrich the metaphor of the mother hen because they make Jerusalem look like a egg in a nest.

The final stop of the day was the Pool of Bethesda.  The site is ran by and is being excavated by a group of French Roman Catholic monks called the White Fathers. It is not only the site of the healing of man lame since birth but also according to tradition the site of Mary's childhood home.  There is also a Crusader church there dedicated to St. Anne mother of Mary there too.  The church is architecturally perfect except for a couple deliberate imperfections to make the church a portrait of humans.  It also has a seven second echo which makes it great for singing and since we are a group from Wheaton College we sang a couple of Protestant hymns while we were in it.

The pool is in two halves one of which is excavated the other is underneath the the other buildings on the White Father's campus.  It is about 100 feet deep and near where the Roman garrison would have been.  There is a much shallower pool that was built by the Romans for pagan healing practices.  It is in those pools that Christ would have most likely put the man.  The story can be found in John 5.

 Trying to look disintrested

 The long stone is 250 tons
 The processional stairs are behind me.
 Anne with a young Mary.

Trust me on this one it reads, "The grave of Amos a deacon of the church of the sheep."  Bethesda was used to water sheep and there used to be a Byzantine Church next to it.
 The outside of St Anne's
The pagan pools


If people think junior highs have cat problems Jerusalem is on a whole other level.  There are cats everywhere and hardly any dogs because they are viewed by the Arab community as unclean.  JUC has two cats and their names are Dopey and Mr. Orange.

 Cats in the Muslim quarter just out side of the Temple Mount
Cats hanging out in the Pool of Bethesda