Last Day in Jerusalem
Monday, March 19, Reported by Lloyd W. Tindall
Monday morning began early with Cleo and I taking a pre-breakfast walk around the YMCA neighborhood to enjoy the spring flowers and blossoms. It was a warm balmy morning that was the beginning of a sunny 80 degree day. Local people were walking, riding buses and driving to work and school.
After breakfast we boarded our bus for the drive to the Israel Museum that is located on a high point overlooking West Jerusalem and not far from the Knesset. While we waited for the museum to open we met some Guatemalan pastors from Los Angeles. Through Dave Jones we learned that they had been attending a conference in Jerusalem.
Our first stop at the Museum was the Shrine of the Book. The Shrine is designed with the white dome shaped like the lids that covered the jars containing the Dead Sea Scrolls. Near the white dome is a black wall. This black and white contrast is a reference to the battle between the Children of Darkness and the Children of Light that is described in the War Scroll as the final battle between good and evil.
We entered the Shrine of the Book through a long dimly lighted passage way that resembled an entrance to the caves at Qumran above the Dead Sea. The Scrolls were found in these caves by a Bedouin shepherd in 1947 on a search for a lost goat. Along the passage way were exhibits of life around Qumran at the time the Scrolls were written. At the end of the passageway we entered the area under the dome. A copy of the Isaiah Scroll is impressively displayed under the center of the dome. It is the only Biblical Book that was found in its entirety. All 66 chapters are written on a 23 foot long parchment scroll made up of 54 columns of parchment that were sewn together. The lower level of the Shrine contains articles found in the caves such as shoes and baskets.
The remainder of our time at the Israel Museum was spent walking through the Archaeology collection. Artifacts collected from all over Israel are arranged chronologically dating from 3500 BC. It was an impressive display of the ancient culture and the skills of the people of the holy land.
After the tour of the Israel Museum our bus let us off at the Jaffa Gate at the Old City. It was a good time for shopping or just wandering among the shops and admiring the vast selection of merchandize. We selected an open air cafe to enjoy some local food and atmosphere. It was less than a 15 minute walk back to the YMCA. We rode the elevator to the top of the 152 foot central tower at the YMCA to view the old city and the new city that surrounds it. The vistas reminded us of what a privilege it had been to be in Jerusalem for four days and to experience in a very small way this fabled old city whose history dates back 4,000 years.
At 4:30 PM we boarded the bus for our evening trip to Ein Karem, the traditional Biblical village where the expectant Mary and Elizabeth talked of the births of Jesus and John the Baptist. The purpose of our visit to Ein Karem, Jerusalem was to see the archaeological replicas at the World of the Bible Gardens and to experience an "authentic" Last Supper. Tom Powers led us on a tour of the Gardens that included replications of a threshing floor, stone cutting, a tomb, goat hair tent, olive press, stone alter, watchtower and winepress. He told us of their significance in the culture and religious thought in the times of the Bible.
As Tom Powers explained, the menu of the Last Supper, a meal of 15 dishes has changed little in 2,000 years. He speculated on the seating arrangements of the Last Supper, especially the locations of Jesus, Peter, John, James, and Judas. Tom described the customs of the Last Supper and provided information on the significance of each step as we enjoyed the items on the menu and reflected on the significance of this event.
We had much to think about on the ride back to the hotel for our last evening in Jerusalem.
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