Last night was our first experience both at night and in Jerusalem.
We walked through the marketplace to the Western Wall. I knew very little about the Western Wall (also known as the Wailing Wall) but after spending a night learning all about it, I was blown away by how significant it is. I’m far from a history buff but this whole trip has sparked a major interest in it, at least the history of Israel, which (according to Romans 11:17) is all Christian’s history as well.
The Western Wall is the only remaining piece of the Jewish Temple. Originally it was the location of the Jewish Synagogue, until Solomon built the temple on the same spot (which was destroyed by Babylon), followed by Herod the Great (the same Herod who ruled when Jesus was born and tried to have Him killed), building a supersized temple on top of the original in the same spot. After this temple (called “The 2nd Temple”) was destroyed, muslims occupied the area until Israel became an official state in 1948. Then in 1967, the Jewish people made the area we see today, where Jews come from all over the world to see and pray at the Western Wall. The reason being, the Western Wall was a part of the foundation of the platform that the temple was actually built on, and is the only original structure still standing.
It would be the equivalent of archeologists finding a beam of the cross Jesus was killed on that they knew without a shadow of a doubt was authentic. Obviously there’s nothing magical about the wood, but we would absolutely want to go see and touch and be near it as much as possible. We would have an incredible reverence for it and if it was within walking distance from our home or on our way to work (which it is for many Jews here in Jerusalem), we wouldn’t hesitate to make it a regular destination to pray and praise God and get our hearts in a position of worship and gratitude.
Because of the significance of the wall, those of the Jewish and Christian faith flock from around the world to experience such a significant part of our faith history. It was amazing to look at it and think that it stood before and during Jesus time as the place all followers of Jehovah came to worship Him.
As I placed my hands on the wall and prayed, I really sensed God’s presence. Again, there’s nothing magical about the wall, but I was standing in a place where (according to God’s Word) His presence lived, in the capital city of the land He chose and gave to His chosen people. It was a wonderful, powerful time of prayer that I’m so grateful to have experienced it.
Not only that, but we got to take an underground tour along a much longer portion of the Western Wall. In the ancient world, when a city was destroyed, conquered, or burned down, the conquering nation would simply level the city and build on top of it. Kind of like the layers of a cake. So, as modern archeologists dig into this (called a “tel”) they’re able to travel back in time and determine historical events.
That being said, the original main street for Jerusalem is much lower than the modern one. So as we toured underground through tunnels built by muslims who occupied the area before Israel became a state, we got to experience so much history.
Part of the base of the Western Wall that’s now underground, featuring a 600 ton (yes that’s correct) stone place there by Herod as he built
One of the most significant places underground is a spot that is the closest possible place to the Holiest Place (Holy of Holies) in the 2nd Temple. It’s underground but around 300 feet from the place that only the high priest was allowed to go and where the curtain was torn the moment of Jesus’ death.
Speaking of which, the Western Wall is only a few football fields away from where Jesus died, which I’m sure we’ll experience in our last two days in Israel.
Overall, it was a powerful night and so rich in history and God’s past and current presence.
Today we go to Bethlehem! On to the next!