This post marks day 4 of our biblical journey with the Church. It was part of the Hope and Grace TBN Israel tour 2018 with Pastor Joseph Prince and Pastor Joel Osteen.
Pool of Bethesda
Bethesda means ‘House of Mercy’ or ‘ House of Grace’. The Pool of Bethesda is where many who needs healing would go to, and it was also the place where Jesus healed a man who has been sick for 38 years. It is also where the ruins of an early Byzantine church was found. The Byzantine church was probably built over the pool site.
Located beside the ruins of a Byzantine church is the Crusader Church of St.Anne.
Our guide, Kiki, talking to a Catholic nun near the Pool of Bestheda.
We set off early in the morning to take a long stroll towards Via Dolorosa, the street in the old city of Jerusalem where it was believed that Jesus has walked, on His way to the crucifixion.
It was quite early in the morning and streets were quiet. The roads were somewhat rather charming even with the graffiti on the walls and little corners which were strewn with trash.
As we walked towards the first station along Via Dolorosa, we walked past a couple of stores selling pomegranate juice, and it would have been nice to buy a cup of fresh juice to drink as you walk through the alley. Since we were travelling in a big group with a tight schedule to follow, it isn’t very wise of us to stop and queue for drinks then.
There are 14 stations along Via Dolorosa where the events mentioned in the New Testament of the Bible took place. We only stopped along a few of these stations as we did not have time to cover all of them. Via Dolorosa means the ‘way of suffering’. It was the path that Jesus took so that we do not have to suffer again in this world.
First Station: Church of Flagellation
Second Station: Church of Condemnation
Lithostrotos (Ecce Homo Convent Underground)
Lithostrotos is the place where Jesus suffered at the hands of the Roman soldiers. To me, this place is one of the highlights because according to our guide, these were the actual stones where the trial by Pontius Pilate had taken place. The stones we were threading upon dates back to almost two thousand years ago. Today, Lithostrotos is located underground. I used to think that the cobbled streets on the street level were where Jesus had walked. Over the years, the actual grounds which Jesus has walked were probably covered by rubbles and stones.
We also walked through the charming narrow alleys at the Muslim Quarters. Many shops were selling all sorts of snacks, candies, souvenirs, ceramics and even carpets. I wish I could spend more time exploring the Muslim quarters. Sadly, I could only walk past it. Check out the photos below!
Mount of Olives
It was a different world up there at Mount of Olives. The wind was strong, and it sent chills down my spine whenever a gust of wind came right up blowing against me. It was cold but it gets warmer as you walk down the Mount of Olives to the Church of All Nations.
We traced Jesus’s walk down the Mount of Olives towards the golden gate (that leads to the Temple Mount) before His crucifixion.
As we took a descent down the mount of olives, we had close up view of the ancient Jewish cemetery. The Jews bury their dead on the Mount of Olives in anticipation of the resurrection when the Messiah comes.
At the foot of the mount is Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was betrayed. It was also where Jesus sweat blood.
Church of All Nations
This church is also known as the Church of Agony. It is just beside the Garden of Gethsemane.
God is indeed the Alpha and the Omega – the first and the last.
In the evening, we went shopping at Ben Yehuda Street, a pedestrian mall in the heart of Jerusalem’s business district. There’s a McDonald outlet there along with same mainstream fashion stores and bakeries. We passed by a Kebab stall and had some piping hot kebab with pita bread. It was scrumptious! There’s also a money changer there where you can change your US dollars for shekels. It is best to have some shekels with you as most of the shops there don’t accept USD.
That’s a typical day for us in Israel during our biblical tour with Sar-El. Do check out for the next blog post as we unravel the other interesting sites in Jerusalem! Or you can visit my main blog post on Israel to have a look at our tour itinerary.