Israel is not a country, it’s an experience. Every alleyway offers different smells—burning incense, bold spices, frying falafels. Standing on the sidewalk in Jerusalem immerses you into different religions, with thousands of Orthodox Jews passing you and the melodic Islamic call to prayer echoing around the buildings. There is snow at the tops of the mountains in the northern tip, while the Judean Desert boasts warm weather—perfect for a dip in the Dead Sea. The colors are bright, the fabrics are wild, and the foods are spicy.
I just spent nine days falling in love with Israel. The richness of the cultures flavor and history kept us going from sun-up to sun-down, walking where the Lord walked and collecting memories along the way. This week, I am recapping those memories.
Day #1: Shalom, Israel!
Our entire day was spent exploring the vast city of Jerusalem.
The Wailing Wall is a Holy site in the Jewish religion. They write their prayers down and stuff them into the cracks of the wall. They also come to read the Torah. I scribbled down my prayer and crammed it into the wall with thousands of others.
We got to explore the Old Jerusalem marketplace, where I ate my first FALAFEL and drank my first Hebrew Coke Zero:
And of course, we visited Christian Holy sites. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built over the believed crucifixion location by the Catholic church in 330 AD.
Another location that some believe could be the site of the crucifixion is at the foot of this hill. Jesus was crucified at Golgotha, or the “place of the skull.” If you look closely, this rock looks like a skull, thus leading some archeologists to believe that this was the place.
Our next visit was to the Garden Tomb:
Honestly, where the crucifixion took place isn’t important. What’s important—where our faith lies—is that the tomb was empty! Praise the Lord!
The first day was a day of culture shock, Chaco blisters, and adventure. But most importantly, spiritual enlightenment. And oh my, it was only the beginning.