Revisiting Israel - Day Six, Part Two
This first picture is of the Cardo Mall, an 800-year-old shopping mall. Different shops exist today, of course, but the stone structure is the same. The Cardo is home to some fancy shops that many of our women would have liked to spend time in, but our guide pushed us along. We did have a chance later to go back for those who wanted to. The whole thing looks pretty cool, more intriguing than the typical local shopping malls around here for sure! This picture is from outside the Golden (Eastern) Gate, which has a smaller actual opening but it a pretty big gate. This is the place where Jesus will come through from the Mount of Olives when He returns someday. (Which is why we mention looking to the East when we speak of His return.)
From there we went to the Western Wall. We had to go through security to get inside. Army members carrying machine guns walk around the place but no one seems to pay them any attention. I guess when you’re used to seeing such things they become part of the scenery.
The Western Wall is a holy site. Men and women are expected to dress modestly and out of respect, Jewish people do not turn their backs on the wall. They walk up to it to touch it or with prayer books or to put prayers on slips of paper into the cracks. I wrote out a quick prayer for the Jewish people and rolled it up and placed it in the crack along with the many slips of paper that were already there.
This is my prayer: Ah Adonai, Please grant grace to these your Jewish people that they may see their Messiah Yeshua. Amen. After we finished at the wall, we walked backward to the entrance.
The wall is actually partitioned off between the men’s side and the women’s side. The men’s side is three to four times as big as the women's side. The women’s side was more crowded – maybe because it was smaller it just looked like there were more people, or maybe the women are more devout than the men as happens sometimes. The men were required to wear hats or were given one of the Jewish skullcaps (sometimes called yarmulkas or kippahs) to wear before they could approach the wall.
From there we went into the tunnels beneath the wall where the Western Wall Plaza or Heritage museum is located. It’s not exactly a museum, but it is a little like one in some ways. We saw a model of how the temple mount used to be compared to how it is today. We walked through what felt like miles of tunnels – very narrow – and we came across two groups of children coming the other way that we had to squeeze by.
Our guide stopped us several times (underground) to explain things about the architecture and the water system and other things I didn’t catch. By then we were all pretty tired and I was longing to see the light of day – literally! I would have enjoyed the Cardo Mall more than the explanations of ancient engineering. Randy liked the engineering lecture more than I did. :)
We finally made it out and back to the bus. My calves ached so bad I wasn’t sure I could get up again! Tomorrow, the final day of our tour. Shalom ~