I feel like I’m going to have to say “I am SO behind and have SO many photos to post!” for the next two months. With class from 8-12 and many adventures to be had, there’s not much time to update via FB, Instagram, blogging, etc. Before we go on tour, I want to at least get semi up-to-date. On Thursday, we are going on a 10-day-long tour of the Life of Christ. For the past week and a half, Dr. Vanlaningham has been going through the Life of Christ with us. On Thursday, we get to begin our tour of His ministry. So, so exciting. I am really looking forward to it. However, this marks our last few days in Israel. It is crazy how fast the time has gone. I could stay here much, much longer.
Anyway, to get this update started I wanted to start off where I left off. After Mr. and Mrs. Smith left, Dr. Tim Sigler and Professor Bobby Moss arrived. It’s been different with each set of professors but each set has been so great. Dr. Sigler knows so much about Israel, has a house here and spends the summers in Jerusalem with his family. It was so wonderful to gain so much knowledge from him. I took his Biblical Theology of Jerusalem class during the two weeks he was here and it was fantastic. I learned so much and cannot wait to share all that I’ve learned. We read so many insightful articles, one that is especially helpful in understanding the theology and biblical antecedents of Jerusalem. If you are interested in this, please let me now and I will gladly send it to you. Bobby Moss is an adjunct professor at Moody in Chicago that typically teaches hermeneutics. He is a true Chicagoan and was super fun to hang out with.
Our first day with them we went to congregation at Jerusalem Assembly. The services are always at least three hours long…which puts your average church in America in perspective 😉 Afterward, we had a bit of time to eat lunch and then rushed to the Herodian. The Herodian is the area where King Herod lived in his time. It was beautiful and the caves that we went down into went so far down. Before we got inside, we gazed at the hills and saw a cloud of smoke in the distance. Dr. Sigler informed us that a lot of Arabs burn tires and other things during Shabbat, hoping that the smoke will blow into Jerusalem to ruin the Jewish people’s Shabbat. However, after reading an article we learned that isn’t what this was. At the Herodian, we watched a cheesey film they made explaining the Herodian…with Hebrew speaking actors that had English dubbed over it. Soooo funny. It was a super windy and dusty day.
The next day we went to the Old City to go through Hezekiah’s Tunnel, the Pool of Siloam and look over the Mount of Olives as the call to prayer rang out so loudly. This was such a cool experience. I didn’t end up bringing my camera with me since it was knee deep water in a teeny tiny tunnel with absolutely no light but I got a couple crappy iPhone photos. I would suggest watching this video that my professor filmed to get a good perspective of what Hezekiah’s tunnel was like. Some things that I’ve never experienced in my life happened this day…like a bird pooping on my head! Thankfully it was second day hair and some good guys cleaned it out for me…hahaha! Hezekiah’s tunnel was used to bring water into the city during 7th century BC and is written about in 2 Kings 20:20. It is a 1/3 of a mile long and were in there maybe 20 minutes. The Pool of Siloam is basically directly outside of the tunnel. This is where Jesus led the blind man and told him to wash his eyes, which healed him of blindness. This happens in John 9. After this we walked up a loooong set of stairs and looked over at the Mount of Olives.
The call to prayer was absolutely deafening. I wept as the spiritual darkness was so evident. These people that are created in God’s image calling out to this god that doesn’t hear them. It’s been so chilling and sobering to feel the spiritual warfare and difficulties here. The video is the call to prayer that happens five times a day.
On February 10 we didn’t have class and went into the Old City at 8AM. Early mornings and exhaustion were typical with Sigler and Moss. This day was super packed and probably one of my most favorite thus far in Israel because we learned so much and saw a ton. First, we stopped at the Temple Institute which holds some original items from the second temple, like the priests robes. Really incredible stuff to see. I only have a few iPhone photos from here because photos were not allowed. We learned here that the 12 stones in the robe of the priest represent the 12 tribes of Israel. Each item on the robe holds such significance. All the people at the Temple Institute were Jewish and shared their heart on the temple. It was so interesting to learn about but also heartbreaking. The girl said, “We have not felt the presence of God in over 1,000 years because without the Temple we cannot feel God’s presence.” I pray that the Jewish people’s eyes would be opened to know Jesus as the Messiah. We also yearn for the rebuilding of the temple and the third Temple to be built so that Christ may return.
After we went to the Dome of the Rock which was built in 691 AD (my first time up there). It was absolutely HUGE. This area has been under Arab control since this time and this is why the Jewish Temple cannot be rebuilt. Women aren’t really allowed to be around men or touch them. You must be completely covered. Cade had shorts on and had to tie scarves around his legs. It was an absolutely beautiful structure. Only Muslim men are allowed inside the Dome of the Rock. There is also a mosque up in the area where the Dome of the Rock is that is the third holiest mosque in all the world: Al Aqusa.
The tile work was absolutely stunning. I wish I could buy tile here in Israel to bring back for a future home… Before we left the area, we went to a small temple (in a photo below with a grey top) which is where it is believed that the holy of holies in the temple once lied. We then went to the Western Wall tunnels which was such a cool experience and so historically enriching. We had a wonderful guide who was once an actor! We also went to the Armenian Hospice which has a rooftop with a beautiful view…yet it was closed. After this we went to Shabon’s and to another shop where we had a ton of cookies on Mother Moody. Sigler and Moss let us rome free for the night; Kev, Josh, Lavi and I stayed with them and we got some orange pomegranate juice on Mother Moody. Such a fun, wonderful day.
This concludes our first week with SIgler and Moss. I hope to get week two up in the next couple of days before we leave for tour!
- Continued health. A lot of people have been sick and some have had pneumonia.
- Pray that we would look at these last two weeks as God’s time to glorify Him and not time for ourselves.
- Pray for our upcoming travels in Europe. Pray that all of our flights would go smoothly and that we would be able to serve the people we are staying with well.