This is the second part of a post about my trip to the Holy Land. Part 1 (From Galilee to Gethsemane) began around the shores of the sea of Galilee, through Qumran and on to Jerusalem arriving at Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives. This one begins at the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem, journeys to Ein Karem and Bethlehem and finishes at the Separation Wall at the West Bank.
Women praying at the Western Wall of the Temple in Jerusalem. Today, this is the holiest site that remains for Jewish people. As a Christian woman, it was an emotional and profound moment being allowed to pray here although it was also a very unusual experience being separated from the men.
I literally held my camera over the fence that divides the men and women’s prayer sections at the Western Wall to take this photo. My son is in this photo wearing the white kippah. He was not allowed to stay with me and I was not allowed to go with him. I cannot begin to explain how that felt as a Western Christian mother (another blog post perhaps).
This is Oskar Schindler’s Grave on Mount Zion. As you can see, the Jewish tradition of leaving a stone when visiting tells its own story here.
Zion Gate entering the city of Jerusalem. This was a stark reminder of another Holy Land – one filled with bullet holes.
Again, as a Western Christian woman, this is something that was completely counter-cultural to me.
This is the view taken from the Church known as Peter in Gallicantu, where Peter denied knowing Jesus. Gallicantu means ‘cock crows.’
This sculpture moved me to tears. I had just come from the pit where Jesus was held after his arrest and, most likely, beaten and flogged before being brought before the high-priest.
This is part of a painting inside the Church of the Visitation in Ein Karem. What I loved about this is two-fold. The tenderness between mother and child is an immediate attraction for me but I love the sphere she is standing upon. Is it because she truly is the most powerful woman in the world? or does it depict the pearl of great price in the Gospel used to explain the value of the Kingdom of God?
I love this sculpture in Ein Karem. It depicts Mary and Elizabeth, two pregnant cousins sharing some knowing looks and secret joy.
I’m certain this was not the name of the street the day Mary and Joseph pulled in on their donkey!
I love this painting. It is rare to come across an image of Our Lady breastfeeding. It is in the Milk Grotto in Bethlehem. Tradition has it that the Holy Family took refuge at this location during the Slaughter of the Innocents, before their flight into Egypt and that while Mary was nursing Jesus, a drop of milk fell to the ground, turning it white. Both Christians and Muslims believe that powder scrapings from the stones in the grotto can increase fertility and the chances of pregnancy.
The “Separation Walls” in the Holy Land remind me of the other walls of shame throughout the world – Belfast, Berlin, Cyprus, the USA and Mexico.