May 31, 2010

Day Eight: Bethlehem.

(Soldiers outside the Western Wall)

Today we returned back to Old Jerusalem, and saw the Western Wall. The reason that this wall is so sacred to Jews today, is because it's the last remnant of the Second Temple, after it was destroyed. This wall is also called the Wailing Wall. It's definitely a place for Jews to pray, cry, and even celebrate Bar Mitzvah's. I found it odd that tourists were allowed to go into this sacred area. I mean, the Jews will be crying out and praying, and then come these loud and annoying tourists, disturbing concentration with the flash of their cameras. I felt like I was intruding for sure; to my left a girl buried her face in her Bible, rocking back and forth in swift motion, and to my right a girl was slipping a crumpled peace of paper into the cracks of the wall, her very prayer to God. The cracks of these walls are filled with folded paper, so filled that by late morning they're already starting to pile up by the root of the wall. And what happens over-night when the wall shuts down? These prayers are dug out from the walls and are swept away forever. The whole "writing your prayers on paper" is an interesting concept; it's unique and intimate in a way. But I don't believe that you need to write your prayers out in physical form in order for God to hear.
(There's a wall that separates the men and the women, and all the women like to peer over it)

(Bar Mitzvah!)

("Tie them as symbols on your hands, and bind them on your foreheads" Deut. 6:8. The Jews take the Bible very literal.)

(Just your everyday Orthodox Jew)

As we were walking the narrow Jerusalem streets, I was approached by a young guy asking me, "are you looking for a husband like me?" Don't worry, I let him down easy.

(Old Jerusalem)

Then we went to see the Dome of the Rock, up close and personal! It's said that this is where Abraham went to sacrifice his son Isaac. And the very rock that was used is located inside the dome. (Hahaaaa) But we couldn't enter the dome because we weren't muslim.

(Somebody decided to go tenting out by the Dome of the Rock?)

We then went to Bethlehem Bible College, which is surprisingly enough located inside Bethlehem! It was here where I have never been so tired in my life. Seriously, it was like 1 in the afternoon, and my eyes were going cross-eyed. It was absolutely ridiculous. While everybody was inside the gift shop, I, being sick of shopping, was outside with some people just talking, and suddenly the topic of my broken sandals came up. They told me to go get my sandal from the bus and then see if the college's office has glue for it. (since the gum was beginning to wear out). So I stepped outside the gate and onto the street, and just past a huge group of young palestinian male soldiers, I could see the big purple bus right in my line of vision. I turned right back around and went back to the group saying "There is NO way I'm goin' out there by myself." Haha, I'm such a coward. But then my friend Helen came with me, bless her soul, and then for some reason we ended up weaving through this group of soldiers over 3 times. It was hilarious. So when we finally got to the bus, my bus driver ran out to buy super glue and then glued my sandals back together, like brand new! It was the nicest thing in the world. And ever since then, the hottest gossip on the bus was that our bus driver was a hero. :)
(The wall separating Palestinian and Jewish territory. You even have to show your passport to get across)

(I was so tempted to transfer here. Not.)
(I totally have this flower in my house! Minus all of the sand and dust)

(Hilad and Helen fixing my sandal)

(Haha. It's true though, Israel doesn't have Starbucks. They tried it once, but it went out of business pretty fast)

Then still inside Bethlehem, we went to the "birth place" of Jesus Christ himself. The Catholics have this tradition of whenever they find a location of significance, such as this one, they drop a church on it and fill it with brass and candles and mosaics and just shrine it all up. So the birth place of Jesus was practically a glimmering fireplace, rather than a manger in a stable. It was kind of ridiculous. Oh, it was also in this church where Charmaine and I were stalked again. We spotted these guys before we even entered the church and knew that something was up. So as we were inside the church listening to our tour guide explain a few things, these guys became a part of our group, standing on the other side of the circle, across from us. I didn't really see this happening, since I try not to make eye contact with sketchy guys, but Charmaine turns me to hiding her face behind her hat saying "JENNI! They're taking pictures of us!" Sure enough, they were snapping photos! A guy from our group noticed this happening too, so he made an effort to stand beside us and to protect us. So as the group was moving on to the next room, these guys were STILL following us. There was a point where they were right behind us, like inches. So now that they were way too close for comfort, one of the guys from our group told security, and security already knew what was happening, so in an instant they dragged the two creeper's out of the church, and we never saw them again. I just wonder how many of their photos of me are floating around on the internet right now...weeeeird.

(See what I mean?)

(Jesus' birthplace! What I like to call, the fireplace. Hahaa...)

(Foolin' around in the church)

(Soooo wonderful!)

Then still in Bethlehem, we went to the Shepherd's field, which was where the angels came to the shepherds telling of Jesus' birth. Here, we all sat down overlooking these rolling hills and fields and just shared and prayed with each other. I find it amazing how God chose to have Jesus born in the lowest of all places; a withered manger surrounded by dirty farm animals and straw. And then he chose to spread the word of this birth by means of low-class shepherds. God send the angels to the richest of kings. God didn't have Jesus born to a queen. This can only amaze us, and teach us that God can use anybody to fulfill his plan. Even you, and even me.
(The Shepherds Field)

(Haha how fitting.)

(They're probably on Youtube or something)

(Back to Jerusalem!)

(This is me, just lovin' life.)


  1. I recognized that flower too!!! Very cool that you saw a real one out in the wilderness! haha!
    I found that too when I went to all these churches and cathedrals when I was in Europe. Visually, they were stunning. Decorated in ornate golds, reds, and blues. But physically and spiritually, they felt very cold and empty to me. And very overdone!
    I love love LOVE the Star & Bucks cafe! That brought joy to my heart and made me laugh out loud!!!
    I saw the picture of the border wall between Palestine and Jewish territory and thought "at least some people care about their borders... cough cough Obama!!"
    Every time I read a new post I am overcome with how cool a trip this must have been!!! So incredible! It is really too bad Mom and Dad couldn't go on it with you. They would have loved it.

  2. did you go up to the Dome of the Rock? i hear theres a sign by it saying "no Praying".. my friends went there and definitely prayed. haha. take that you wacky muslims!

    Mum and Dad are going next year! i'm so jealous. they invited me, and i intend to hold them to that promise. there is no way i'm letting them go to Israel with out me. i'd be so disappointed.

    I got stalked in SuperStore a few weeks ago. so i know what you're going through. :) lol!