Via De La Rosa – Israel | Day 9
We walked where Jesus walked today. Some of the path we walked on is 30-40 feet above the actual stones that Jesus walked on. This is because the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed and rebuilt several times in the last 2000 years. However, in about 3 or 4 places, you could actually walk on and touch the stones where Jesus walked and stumbled with His cross. We could see where the soldiers gambled for his clothes. These locations are now like caves below the surface of the modern city.
We have been fortunate to visit Israel at a low tourist season so that we can actually stop at these popular places, reflect on the story, read scripture, pray, and sing old hymns. It has been a great time of worship.
We traveled the via de la rosa or as the Catholics call it, ‘the stations of the cross’. There are 14 spots they have identified that Jesus walked from his sentencing by Pilate to the burial. Some of the stops are not in scripture. They were added by the church.
The place where most orthodox churches believe the actual cross and tomb were are under a large church called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. There are tons of candles being lit, prayers, etc. A lot of Catholic style worship going on. We did not really stay long here.
We toured the Muslim temple and shopped in the Muslim part of the Temple mount for a while. It truly felt like a third world country. A very tight, bustling marketplace. Strange sights and smells going on for sure.
In the afternoon, we went to a place called ‘The garden tomb”. This is owned by a protestant group and they have a strong theory that this is the place of the cross and tomb. There is an actual hill that looks like a skull “Golgotha” and a tomb near by that fits the description in the gospels. We read scripture, sang songs, and Pastor Ani Simonson led us in communion.