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A Winding Journey With Many Stops The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing." ~Daniel J. Boorstin

Holy Land: Day 5

PALESTINE | Thursday, 10 May 2007 | Views [414]

Right now I am sitting on stone steps from the 1st century. Stone steps that were here in the time of Jesus. Stone steps that Jesus walked down during the time preceeding his death. This concept is hard for me to believe and to grasp, to absorb. As I sit here, listening to the birds chirp, the call to prayer bouncing off eachother in a delightful cacophony of sound, kids yelling, car horns blaring, the sounds of a bustling city on an afternoon here in Jerusalem, my emotions are in turmoil. I have just come from the underground prison and detention/torture center that very probably held Jesus, Peter and John.

They call this land the Holy Land and I have, on some level have known and appreciated that already but it is becoming more clear today. Twice now I have sat on ancient steps where Christ once walked. Right now and then before in the old city in the excavated Herodian Quarter, on the Rabbi's Teaching Steps near the Temple Mount. I have walked on the grounds of the old temples. I have been on the courtyard of the Dome of the Rock, convents, monastaries, temples, churches and cathedrals--I have been to many places that people consider 'Holy' but stone steps have had the most impact on me. Stone steps, and not just any stone steps, because Jerusalem is full of them. Steps are everywhere. It is one of the few places where the phrase uphill both ways is appropriate, but all those others aside these stone steps, here, near the Church of the Dormition, they mesmerize me. The are simple, ordinary, 1st century steps. (if I can even say that, lol) They go from the top of a hill and kind of meander down to a small garden area. The trees look old, but I doubt that they are 2000 years old. Little red poppies grow wild amongst the rock with pine trees and some kind of tree that remindes me of a weeping willow draping gracefully in the shade. Pine needles litter the ground, filling in the cracks amongst the large, lichen covered stones.

This whole area (or in my opinon, half this country) is an archeological site and the ruins of several houses surround us. The house of the high preist was where the dungeon and prison system once was. These steps lead down from there. I wonder what they would say if they could talk. They have seen many; the poor, the rich, the condemened, the innocent, the lost, the wondering, merchants, guards, soldiers, tourists, priests and Jesus Christ, Son of God.

Tags: holy land, palestine

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