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