Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” Mark 14:32

We started at the top of the Mount of Olives and followed Jesus’ Palm Sunday route to the Garden of Gethsemane. Among the ancient olive trees Steve taught from Mark 14, the passage where Jesus prayed from this same garden. Then we spread throughout the garden for some private time of prayer and contemplation.

The next highlight was a visit to the Church of St Peter in Gallicanti, a place few of us had ever heard of. A complex of caves under the church includes a dungeon thought to be the cell where Jesus was detained for the night following his arrest. We packed into this tiny cell while Steve read Psalm 88. It was both disturbing and moving as we gained insight into to the awful suffering Jesus endured for us.

After lunch we headed to the Valley of Elah where David slew Goliath. Steve shared a passage from Romans 5. What does Romans have to do with an ancient battle? You’ll have to read it to find out.

Next we traveled to the Sorek Valley, near where the ancient Philistine city of Ekron once stood, and visited Kibbutz Revadim, the home of our tour guide “Uncle” Kenny. He showed us around and explained kibbutz life. We met his wife and enjoyed refreshments at their home before planting a tree for Calvary Chapel Fluvanna on the kibbutz.

After dinner many went to see the amazing “Night Spectacular Show” at the City of David. A fitting end to our first full day in the Holy City.


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