Walking through the streets of Jerusalem, Nov ‘17.
It was a beautiful, glorious and sunny day as I entered through the Jaffa Gate of the Old City. Her walls were big and grand as they towered over you. It looked royal as she stood there amongst the sky. Locals would walk by unnoticeably as it was just a daily thing for them to pass by.
My senses were immersed as I stepped through the gates of the old city. There was so much sudden activity, so much life already.
“Do I have enough shekels for all the things I wanted to buy?”. I wondered as I passed a currency exchange booth.
Our first stop was a freshly squeezed pomegranate juice and we got to press our own juice, even this felt simply thrilling. Every moment was continually rich in novelty.
The hawkers were shouting out their wares to passing loads of tourists and their friendly smiles tried to persuade us to buy their tacky souvenirs.
It is the holiest site and home to Jews, Muslims, Armenians and Christians. I was a free wanderer with no defined faith then and so I openly explored with curiosity all the quarters.
I love seeing the difference in each quarter’s style, food, their decor and all their offerings. All these major religions were so closely next to one another in these confined walls of the old city. I found it surprisingly peaceful how they could co-exist each day, with so much history!
It was thrilling, it was loud, it was crowded and it was exciting. We did manage to find a few quiet alleys from getting lost. The solitude of these lanes were precious and a much needed escape from the busyness.
I realised we were walking on history of these well worn cobbled stones, I felt honoured that I was able to walk through this city. My hands touched each wall and imagined what these walls must have seen. These silent walls gently witnessing...
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was a favourite. It was so sacred and majestic. The architecture and the paintings were beautifully created with faith and people’s devotion. It was crowded but it was deeply silent as people walked through its halls in awe and wonder.
The ceilings above were golden and they depicted Jesus and his angels watching over you . There was light shining through the high ceiling as it blessed the people below. It is supposeably the site where Jesus was crucified in which it was previously the site of Calvary (Golgotha). It is also known as the place where he died and was resurrected, this is debated as there is a nearby garden where he lay in the tomb for 3 days.
When the evening fell upon the city, things were quieting down. We got lost again and were tired from our day, no matter how much we tried to stick to our map. We entered the quietness of the Jewish quarter where the locals resided. We saw a man dressed in black with his books, hurrying to his night class. They did everything in faith, I admired quietly to myself. It was inspiring.
This weekend I have been feeling nostalgic of my time in Jerusalem. With the limitations on travel, I feel it was such a deep honour I was able to visit Israel a few times, each time was life changing and heartwarming. I loved the hospitality of all Her people, the food and its ancient history. Camping next to the Dead Sea amongst the stars with the lights of Jordan from afar, having campfires and telling stories, hitching to Jerusalem, driving through Israel in a rented car on the wrong side of the road while being beeped at by heated Israelis and almost driving to Syria by mistake. So many precious adventures.
My life has been rich with memories and experience and I am grateful that I get to continually enjoy the abundance and love life sweetly provides. Thank you God