Saturday, October 20, 2007

Bethlehem's Other Face

On Saturday we traveled through Zion's Gate in the wall to a site that could have been the Upper Room and then to a house that might have belonged to Caiphas that had a dungeon where Jesus could have been kept. We then found a great site south of the wall where we could see the Temple Mount, Mount of Olives and the Potters' Field as our guide narrated the last days of Jesus in an about the Wall and Temple.
Before lunch we journeyed into Bethlehem, leaving behind our Israeli guide and picking up a new Palestinian Christian guide. The wall that ring Bethlehem is pretty imposing and grey on the Israeli side and filled with political graffitti on the Paliestinian side. We bought gifts, visited the church of the Holy Nativity with several thousand pilgrims from all over the world, ate lunch at a dining hall and took off back for Jersualem to pick up our guide.
Now I'm the Bus Captain, representing the interests of the travelers. We just got through the check-points (2 of them) when someone asked where two of our travelers were? They were missing, on the other side of the border. I asked if all were present but did not do a count. How embarrasing, to leave two friends behind. We turned the bus around and met them at the border; me very much embarrased and them wondering just what sort of pastor/shepherd I really am?
We drove down into the wilderness of Qumran and then into Jericho. By the time a resident expert began his lecture this evening on the Galilee, my eyes were dropping and my head bobbing. The days are filled to the brim with events, visuals and facts. This is a dense and multiply complex country/culture. It eludes simplistic answers and descriptions. When we left Jericho, the owner of the shop we stopped at came out and shook my hand heartily looking into my eyes and saying "Thank you for visiting us here in Jericho and stopping at my store!"


At 3:50 PM , Anonymous Lyle said...

Hi Don,
Interesting to see that even in the city of the source of three world religions graffti still covers the walls. Well I remember that much worse events happened there when there was only one of those world religions.
It has been warm here, in the mid to upper 70's.
How about a group picture of the tour, or just the MCC group, including you??


At 9:15 PM , Blogger donnjohnson said...

I'll try, but it's like herding cats, eerybody heading in diferent directions. Let's see what can happen?

At 6:58 AM , Anonymous Lyle said...

Hi Donn,
Try a little capnip.



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