Walking Through Old Town Jerusalem & Bethlehem

It’s hard to know where to begin when you travel through Jesus’ life in 10 hours. On this crisp 45 degree morning, we began at the Temple Mount in Old Jerusalem, which is built on Mount Moriah (the place believed to be where Abraham offered his son, Isaac, as a sacrifice to God).

Atop this Temple Mount stands the famous Gold Dome of the Rock. The morning sun glinted off of the gold-plated dome made it feel like it would burst into flame at any moment!

As we left the Temple Mount, we walked the Vio Dolorosa, the last steps that Jesus walked through Jerusalem toward Calvary. The route winds itself through the Old City of Jerusalem, starting at a school near the Lion’s Gate and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (the traditional site of Jesus’ crucifixion).

The old streets bustled with people of many languages, shopkeepers hawking their wares, and street vendors offering a strand of beads for a few shekels. It was a sensory overload as vivid color and noise were everywhere – except inside the churches. There is a Lutheran Church in Old Town Jerusalem and it was fun to see Wayne behind the altar (even if it was only for pictures)!

The Via Dolorosa took us through the 14 stations of the cross where it was powerful to see the traditionally-held places where Jesus was condemned by Pilate, received His cross and then fell under its weight.

It seemed only fitting that such a spiritually meaningful journey ended at the Church of Holy Sepulchre. There has been a church on this site since 326 AD and is believed to be the location where Christ was crucified. Old Byzantine mosaic tiles and beautiful frescos were lit by dozens of suspended lanterns placed there by Christians, Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman Catholic churches.

There was so much history and spiritually powerful meaning along this route that I could hardly catch my breath at times.

Finally, our group gathered at the Western Wall for a personal time of prayer and reflection. Some of us wrote out prayers on small pieces of paper and stuffed them into the cracks of the Wall as we prayed (a tradition there). Tears ran down my face as I prayed for the people and situations that God laid on my heart.

We walked out of Old Town of Jerusalem inspired, tired, and awed. Then it was time for Bethlehem! We enjoyed a scrumptious lunch upon arrival, then given a rare opportunity to see how olive wood is gathered and carved by hand and machines.

Naturally, a stop in the shop that produced those items was given! (That’s a post for a different day.) The angels made the announcement HERE! The shepherds heard the message HERE The star shone RIGHT HERE.

The Church of the Nativity sits just next to the Shepherds’ Hill Church, both honoring Jesus’ birth and the proclamation of the shepherds: “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed him in a manger.” Luke 2:6-7

We are back at our hotel in Jerusalem for the evening, marveling at God’s grace, love and provision for each of us.

10 thoughts on “Walking Through Old Town Jerusalem & Bethlehem

  1. Marilyn Stuckwisch

    That all has to be very moving even though exact locations may be conjecture. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey!

  2. Teresa Tester

    Donna thank you so much for sharing your pictures and descriptions of them. One of these years, if God is willing, I will get to visit. In the meantime, I’ll visit through you.

  3. So beautiful and spirtual. I was humbled by my visit there. Advent was about to begin when we returned. The Bible verses and pictures that were read came back to me each and every advent season always takes my breath away before the tears of joy run from my eyes. I was so blessed to be able to walk where our Lord walked and ttaught.

  4. Beth Shibley

    Brings back the best memories of our Mother – Daughter trip, thanks for sharing Donna. Love and hugs.

  5. Angie Snow

    Thank you, Donna, for your posta; such a beautiful story. I love your photos, especially the one of you…very emotional of you at the wall; I know you and almost felt how you must have been feeling. It’s very draining to feel so emotional. Beautiful!
    What a wonderful day you’ve had. I look forward to each chapter of your trip/day. Now time for reminiscing this evening. Rest well and have another eventful day tomorrow.
    Love you!❤😘

  6. Leigh Lonardo

    Such beautiful and impactful images! The intensity and your gratitude come through so strong from this experience— thank you for sharing your trip. I may not ever get to go, so this touches my life greatly!

  7. Debbie

    I love the olive wood sculptures, especially the hands coming out of the Book holding the saints. That just jumped out at me.

  8. Helen Mayer`1

    WOW! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experiences with us!!!! Amazing is a word I’m sure you have used/heard many times on this trip, but I don’t know what else to say! Have a great day!

  9. Linda

    Thank you Donna for sharing such beautiful pictures, a beautiful story and your emotional journey. What a blessing to walk this road knowing our Savior did this for us! Blessings on your trip.

  10. Your photos alone brought tears to my eyes. Your heart must be so full! Thanks again for letting us at home walk with you.


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