This post marks day 8 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.
Church of St Peter in Gallicantu
We have been spending our nights over at Jerusalem as we travelled out from Jerusalem to the various biblical places located outside Jerusalem. On Day 8, we were back exploring this ancient city and this time at a much slower pace as it was a Saturday where the Jews celebrate Shabbat. Most of the shops are closed on Shabbat as it is a rest day for them.
The first site we visited was Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, just outside the old city of Jerusalem. It is a Roman Catholic Church perched on Mount Zion. This is where Peter the disciple denied Jesus three times before the cock crowed, just as Jesus had earlier prophesied to Peter in the Upper Room.
We also went into the dungeon below Caiaphas house where Jesus could have been tormented there. They could have kept Him there before bringing Him to Pilate’s Praetorium the next morning.
The photograph below shows the sacred pit where Jesus could have been held in custody. It was dark and strangely cold.
After roaming around the church grounds, our Church leader had a surprise for all of us.
She was led by the spirit to call upon all wed couples to renew their marriage vows. All the married couples who were on this trip with us have decided to be onboard. So they renew their vows right at the church. Such a beautiful, sweet and meaningful thing to do at a church in Jerusalem!
Room of the Last Supper (Upper Room)
From Church of St Peter in Gallicantu, we walked over to the Room of the Last Supper or Upper Room. It is also situated at Mount Zion. It was rebuilt by the Crusaders after it was razed to the ground by the Muslims. Right below the Upper Room is King David’s Tomb, the traditional burial place of King David.
It was in this Upper Room where Jesus celebrated His last Passover meal with His disciples before His crucifixion. He also instituted the Lord’s Supper. It was also in the Upper Room where he washed His disciples’ feet and shared about love being the greatest commandment.
The Lord Spoke
It was somewhat crowded that day we didn’t have the chance to view the entire Upper Room. As I stepped into the Upper Room, I heard the holy spirit in me saying ‘He is no longer here. He is always with you. You don’t have to be here to find Him.’ It dawn upon me that these attractions and sites are ancient relics. Over the years, the building and environment may have changed, but the stories and the heart of Christ remain constant. You do not need to come all the way here to Israel just to see Jesus when He is right here with us, wherever we go.
From the Church, we walked over to our lunch place through Zion’s gate to The Armenian Patriarchate street.
Outside Zion’s Gate
Along the way, we met some street vendors selling these Israeli bakes. I was so tempted to buy one to try but had to resist as we were about to have our lunch.
Did you saw these walls below with pits right there? The bullet shots left those small pockmarks. It is known as Jerusalem’s bullet-wounded gate. The walls were ‘heavily wounded’ during the 1948 Israeli War of Independence when the Arab forces laid siege to Old Jerusalem’s Jewish neighbourhood. To break the siege, the Jewish military forces attacked the Jordanian army unit guarding the Zion Gate. The numerous pockmarks on Zion Gate are from the Jewish gunfire which was aimed at the Jordanians.
On Shabbat, Jewish families would dedicate this rest day to spend time with their families and friends. Many of them would be out with their children, exploring the city on foot.
Lunch at Bulghourji – Armenian Bar Restaurant
Lunch was the usual – we had several cold dishes served with pita bread. We wish we could have eaten something different, but I guess that’s how the locals there would eat. I wonder if they would ever get bored of eating the same food and cuisine every day.
At the foot of Mount of Olives, we walked through a pathway that led us to Zechariah’s tomb and the tomb of the sons of Hezir. There is a cluster of tombs built into the rock on the foothills of Mount of Olives, on the eastern side of the Kidron Valley.
From the tombs, we walked through a Mulism neighbourhood where some of the houses were built on steep slopes.
View of Bethlehem
We weren’t exactly at Bethlehem. We were actually at a shepherd’s field which overlooks towards Bethlehem which is also known as the house of bread. Bethlehem is the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Although we were quite a distance away from Bethlehem, we were able to take a look at how a shepherd’s field would look like. The sheep here have brown to dark coats of wool, unlike the usual white ones. From afar, the sheep look like huge boulders.
After ‘grazing the fields’ together with the sheep, we headed back to the hotel to rest. Our church leader organised a small gathering at the hotel function’s room but my roommate. However, we did attend the gathering. Instead, we head out for a walk. I just wanted to spend more time roaming around the city.
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.