June 10, 2017


We split up our family on this day. The younger ones walked from our hotel to the Mt of Olives. They essentially took the taxi’s route from yesterday in reverse.

So my dearest and I went to the street labelled Via Dolorosa and went up the down staircase, so to speak, or the dolorosa way (if you speeky de Spanish).

Had a soft drink at the small café of a Muslim man who had been there for 60 years since his grandfather first opened the store.

Also, at that store we met a Jewish tour guide by chance and got his card.

We first noticed the caper bush there growing high up on a stone wall … a tenacious plant indeed. Flower buds from this plant are delicious when pickled … I believe this plant will find its way into the as yet unnamed sequel to Shepherd, Potter, Spy–and the Star Namer.

From there we retraced our steps and exited the Old City at the Damascus Gate.

It was a nice walk, relatively easy, and not crowded like the day before when we were told 300,000 Muslim worshippers had streamed in to meet at the Dome of the Rock.

We were thankful for the previous day’s advice at the hotel desk not to go there on a Friday during Ramadan. (Ramadan does not go by our western calendar, so it occurs once a year on their calendar and year after year appears to slide from month to month through the seasons of ours.)

LATER NOTE: We were wary and prayerful about being in Israel during Ramadan. Some predicted an increase of violence during Islam’s holy days.

There were two incidents while we were there (that we were aware of). And in one a female Israeli security officer was killed.

However, in the month since we have been home, dearest has received numerous security alerts via the US State Department … an automatic service he has continued to receive since we were in Israel in 2010.

Issues in Jerusalem between the Jews and Muslims have heated up rapidly since we were there and since two terrorists smuggled weapons onto the Temple Mount and killed at least one person before they were killed.

Having been there makes it all so much more real … and personal.

We are glad we went. We are very thankful for God’s grace and protection while we were there for such an awesome learning journey.

An illustration of the overall political situation there is a ladder leaning onto the wall of the on an upper balcony.

Nobody knows who put it there. Or why. It’s documented to have been there since 1777ish. It’s part of the status quo policy among the 5 groups who have control of this important building. Nothing can be done without the agreement of all five entities. (No telling how many within each group have to agree to their one vote.)

Imagine: One weathered, purposeless ladder leans wearily against a façade of grandeur. I predict when the rocks cry out at the return of Jesus, so will the ladder.

Issues in Jerusalem: link to article on “The Ladder and status quo Policy”