Posts Tagged ‘Sheep Gate’

The Gates and Walls of Nehemiah

“Our feet were already standing at your gates, Yerushalayim” (Psalm 122:2).

Nehemiah chapter 3 outlines the rebuilding of the gates and walls of Jerusalem in the days of Ezra. Its focus is on the names of those who set the gates and rebuilt the walls surrounding each gate.   Biblical/Hebrew names have always fascinated me as they always have prophetic significance.  As I began researching the meanings of the names, I found incredible messages.

Nehemiah's Jerusalem
Nehemiah’s Jerusalem

It is important to note that the boundaries of city of Jerusalem in the days of Nehemiah were very different, and much smaller, from modern times.  Some gates had different names; other gates didn’t exist or exist now.  The layout of the city went south into the City of David or Mount Zion rather than west towards what is known today as the Old City.  Excavations of the Broad Wall are found near the center of the Jewish Quarter near the Hurva Synagogue.  

Sheep Gate

“But the one who goes in through the gate is the sheep’s own shepherd” (John 10:2).

Sheep Gate or Lion's Gate

Nehemiah 3 begins with the restoration of The Sheep Gate.  This gate was where the lambs were brought for examination and eventual sacrifice in the Temple.  Today, the Sheep Gate is known as the Lion’s Gate and is the entrance to the Arab Quarter near Bethesda. 

“Eliashib, the high priest along with the Levite priests rebuilt the Sheep Gate to the Tower of the Hundred and onto the Tower of Hanna’el.   Next to the priests, the men of Jericho and Zakur, the son of Imri continued building” (Nehemiah 3:1-2).   

The meanings of the names of those who restored the Sheep Gate:

My God will return with a strong utterance [a shofar blast implying warfare].   

The prophetic voice: “The LORD will roar from Tzion and thunder from Jerusalem; the earth and the heavens will tremble.  But the LORD will be a refuge for his people, a stronghold for the people of Israel” (Joel 3:16).

Fish Gate

“So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn” (John 21:11).

The Fish Gate was the next to be restored  in the north wall of ancient Jerusalem near the modern-day Damascus Gate which is also in the Arab Quarter.  The Fish Gate was the closest gate to the fish market and fishermen from the Galilee, whether Arab or Israeli, used this gate to bring their fish to market.

“The sons of Hasna’ah rebuilt the Fish Gate.  Next to them M’remot the son of Uriyah, the son of Hakotz, made repairs. Next to them Meshulam the son of Berekhyah, the son of Mesheizav’el, made repairs. Next to them Tzadok the son of Ba‘ana made repairs. Next to them the men from T’koa made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:3-5).

The meanings of the names of those who restored the Fish Gate:

“Thorns, the myrrh of death, God is my Light, my shalom, my deliverer.  My righteous one is blessed by Yah through a confirming Tekoa [trumpet blast].”

The Hebrew numerology for the 153 fish with each number being represented by a letter means: “I Am yod-hey-vav-hey.” 

The prophetic voice: “On that day [the day of the LORD],” declares the LORD, “a cry will go up from the Fish Gate, wailing from the New Quarter, and a loud crash from the hills. Wail, you who live in the [fish] market district; all your merchants will be wiped out,  all who trade with silver will be destroyed” (Zephaniah 1:10-11).

Old “Ancient” Gate

“Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Yeshua is the Messiah” (Acts 9:22).

The Old Gate was known as the Sha’ar Yahshana meaning ‘ancient entrance/pathway.’  This ‘ancient’ gate was located on the north side of Jerusalem and may have been what is known today as the Damascus Gate.  The Damascus Gate leads out to the Nablus Road and, in ancient days, led directly to Damascus, Syria.   

“Yoyada the son of Paseach and Meshulam the son of B’sodyah made repairs to the Old City Gate…. Next to them M’latyah the Giv‘oni, Yadon the Meronoti and the men from Giv‘on and Mitzpah made repairs; they worked for the people associated with the governor of the territory beyond the [Euphrates] River. Next to them ‘Uzi’el the son of Harhayah, goldsmiths, made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:6-8). 

The meanings of the names, places, and vocation of those who repaired the Old Gate:

“Yah favors, passing over, sparing.  Shalom in the counsel of Yah.  Men of the ‘hill city’, watch[tower] for the deliverance of Yah who will judge the great stream.  God is my strength.  Yah protects and tests the heart.”

Gibeon or Giv’on was conquered by Joshua just like Jericho.   Gibeon means ‘hill country’.  Mitzpah means ‘watchtower’ and was a city in Benjamin located near Jerusalem.  The word ‘Euphrates’ is an Assyrian word meaning ‘the great stream’.

Goldsmiths are mentioned twice in Nehemiah 3 as those who worked on repairing the wall. 

“The crucible [tests] silver, and the furnace [tests] gold, but the one who tests hearts is the LORD” (Proverbs 17:3).

The ways of Adonai are described by the prophet Jeremiah as ‘ancient paths’ (Jeremiah 6:16).   These ‘ancient pathways’  in Jerusalem that so many have walked on over the centuries are accessed through ‘ancient gates’ like the Sha’ar Yahshana. 

The prophetic voice:  “I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the Lord” (Amos 1:5). 

Broad Wall

Broad Wall Excavation in Jewish Quarter

One other job description mentioned in this group of men is a perfume maker who helped repair the way to the Broad Wall.  The Broad Wall was a defensive wall about 23 feet thick built during the reign of King Hezekiah.  It is believed that the city of Jerusalem at this time was confined to the fortified, narrow hill running to the south of the Temple Mount known as the City of David.  There are remnants of this wall in Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter. 

“Next to him Hananyah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs; they renovated Yerushalayim as far as the Broad Wall” (Nehemiah 3:8).

His name means:

“Grace and mercy are a sweet-smelling gift of Yah.”

Ephraim Gate

“Therefore Jesus no longer moved about publicly among the people of Judea. Instead he withdrew to a region near the wilderness, to a village called Ephraim, where he stayed with his disciples” (John 11:54).

The Ephraim Gate is not mentioned in Nehemiah 3 as needing repairs, however, it is mentioned in Nehemiah 8 when the people built their sukkot (booths) at this gate, and in Nehemiah 12 as part of the processional walk of choirs during the dedication of the wall at Feast of Tabernacles.   According to 2 Kings, the distance between the Ephraim Gate and the Corner Gate was 400 cubits or 200 yards.  Ephraim was the name of second-born son to Joseph in Egypt.  In Hebrew Ephraim means ‘fruitfulness.’

“Next to them Refayah the son of Hur … made repairs. Next to him Y’dayah the son of Harumaf made repairs opposite his own house. Next to him Hatush the son of Hashavn’yah made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:10-11).

These are the meanings of the names of the men who repaired the wall to the Tower of the Ovens:

“Yah has cured, examined, guided, assembled.  Yah has imputed to me.”

Prophetic voice: “See, I will bring them from the land of the north and gather them from the ends of the earth. Among them will be the blind and the lame, expectant mothers and women in labor; a great throng will return. They will come with weeping; they will pray as I bring them back. I will lead them beside streams of water on a level path where they will not stumble, because I am Israel’s father, and Ephraim is my firstborn son” (Jeremiah 31:8-9).

Tower of the Ovens

“They [the Levites] were in charge of the bread set out on the table, the special flour for the grain offerings, the thin loaves made without yeast, the baking and the mixing, and all measurements of quantity and size” (1 Chronicles 23:29).

The Tower of the Ovens, in Hebrew tannurim, was located at Bakers’ Street off the western wall of Jerusalem.  This area was considered the baking district of Jerusalem.  The Sabbath showbread for the Temple was baked here by Levite bakers (1 Chronicles 9:31-32).    Zedekiah had his guards feed Jeremiah a daily loaf of bread from Bakers’ Street (Jeremiah 37:21).  This is the only place Scripture mentions that women worked on the wall –– the daughters of HaLochesh.

“Malkiyah the son of Harim and Hashuv the son of Pachat-Mo’av [Sheik of Moab] made repairs on another section and on the Tower of the Ovens.  Next to him Shalum the son of HaLochesh … he and his daughters, made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:9-12). 

The meanings of the names of those who worked on the Tower of the Ovens and the nearby wall:

“God is my King, dedicated to God, important, honored, considerate, one who whispers.” 

Prophetic vision: “Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil— they are the ones who will dwell on the heights,  whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them” (Isaiah 33:15-16). 

Valley Gate

“‘Uziyahu [Uziah] built towers in Yerushalayim at the Corner Gate, at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them” (2 Chronicles 26:9).

The Valley Gate gate was most likely on the southwestern side of the city between the Tower of Ovens and the Dung Gate.  It doesn’t exist in modern-day Jerusalem.   It was through the Valley Gate that Nehemiah left the city to inspect the wall that had been broken down and the gates which had been burned by fire (Nehemiah 2:13). 

“Hanun and the people living in Zanoach repaired the Valley Gate … and they rebuilt 1,500 feet of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate” (Nehemiah 3:13).

The meanings of the name of the man who repaired the Valley Gate along with those living in Zanoah:

“Rejected, stinking; gracious and merciful.”

There are several valleys around Jerusalem.  The Kidron Valley, the Tyropoeon Valley, and the Hinnom Valley.   The Kidron Valley is dotted with thousands of burial sites and is known as ‘the valley of the shadow of death.’  The Tyropoeon Valley, called the ‘valley of cheesemakers’, separates Mount Moriah with the Temple Mount from Mount Tzion also known as the City of David.  The Hinnom Valley is on the south and west of Jerusalem.  In Hebrew, Hinnom is gehenna.  Scripture calls this place the ‘valley of slaughter’ because of the sacrifices to Molech which took place there (Jeremiah 32:35).  It is most likely that the Valley Gate led out to the Hinnom Valley.

Prophetic voice: “A voice cries out: “Clear a road through the desert for the LORD! Level a highway in the ‘Aravah for our God! Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill lowered, the bumpy places made level and the crags become a plain. Then the glory of the LORD will be revealed; all humankind together will see it, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken” (Isaiah 40:3-5).

The Dung Gate

“The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, is to be carried outside the camp; there they are to burn up completely their hides, meat and dung” (Leviticus 16:27).

Dung Gate

The Dung Gate in Hebrew is Sha’ar Ha’ashpot or ‘Gate of Garbage.’ It received its name from the refuse and ash that was removed from the Temple and taken out out of the city into the Valley of Hinnom where it was burned.  The Dung Gate is mentioned in Nehemiah 12:30 when the priests and the Levites dedicated the gates and the wall.  There was a rampart walkway on which the people could walk around the city and offer their praise and worship to Adonai (Nehemiah 12:13).   

“Malkiyah the son of Rechav, leader of the district of Beit-Hakerem, repaired the Dung Gate (Nehemiah 3:14).

The meanings of the names of the men who repaired the Dung Gate from the district of Beit-Hakerem:

“God is my King.  He enlarges the people, the house of his vineyard.”

The present-day Dung Gate was built during the Ottoman Empire and is probably not in the same place as it was in Nehemiah’s day. The gate was widened in 1948 to allow cars to enter.  In the days of the Temple, it was a gate where refuse was taken; today it is the main gate into the Jewish Quarter where tourists visit the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.

Fountain Gate

““For my people have committed two evils: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water!” (Jeremiah 2:13).

The Fountain Gate was on the ophel or the part of the eastern hill that sits between the City of David and the Temple Mount.   It was near the Pool of Siloam and was used by the people for a cleansing immersion before proceeding to the Temple. It was at the pool of Siloam that Yeshua told a blind man to go and wash the mud out of his eyes.   

“Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing” (John 9:7). 

“Shalun the son of Kol-Hozeh, leader of the district of Mitzpah, repaired the Fountain Gate; … he also rebuilt the wall of the Pool of Siloam, by the royal garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the City of David. After him Nechemyah the son of Azbuk, leader of half the district of Beit-Tzur, made repairs from the place opposite the tombs of David as far as the artificial pool and the soldiers’ barracks” (Nehemiah 3:15-16). 

The meanings of the names of the men who repaired the Fountain Gate and the areas around the pool and tombs:

“Prosper, all prophets, the watchtower.  Yah comforts, sends.  Strong devastation, House of Rock.

Prophetic voice: “And he [Yeshua] said to me, “It is done! I am the ‘alef and the tav,’ the Beginning and the End. To anyone who is thirsty I myself will give water free of charge from the Fountain of Life” (Revelation 21:6).

Gate of the Guard

“He stationed guards at the gates of the house of the LORD, so that no one who was unclean in any respect could enter” (2 Chronicles 23:19).

From the Fountain Gate, a number of priests repaired the wall sections attached to their homes until they reached the Gate of the Guard.  It was in this section that Eliashib, the high priest lived.   Like the Ephraim Gate, the Gate of the Guard needed no repairs. 

“After him the Levites made repairs: Rechum the son of Bani; next to him Hashavyah, leader of half the district of Ke‘ilah, made repairs for his district. After him their colleagues, Bavai the son of Henadad … made repairs. Next to him ‘Ezer the son of Yeshua, leader of Mitzpah, made repairs on another section, opposite the ascent to the armory at the Angle. After him Barukh the son of Zakkai worked diligently … to the door of the house of Elyashiv the high priest. After him M’remot the son of Uriyah made repairs on another section, from the door of the house of Elyashiv to the end of the house of Elyashiv.

The meanings of the names of the Levites who repaired the wall to the high priest’s house:

“Merciful and compassionate to the one whom God sees building the ‘little city’.  With the desire of the LORD, the grace of the beloved, help and salvation are ‘the witness between two’.  The pure blessing, my God will restore from bitterness, the myrrh of death to the Light of the Lord.”

The priests from the plains continued the repairs from the high priest’s house to the Courtyard of the Guard. 

Binyamin and Hashuv made repairs opposite their house. After them ‘Azaryah the son of Ma‘aseiyah, the son of ‘Ananyah, made repairs next to his house.  After him Binui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of ‘Azaryah to the Angle and to the Corner.  Palal the son of Uzai made repairs opposite the Angle and the tower that projects out from the upper part of the royal palace near the Courtyard of the Guard” (Nehemiah 3:17-25).

The meaning of the names of the priests who repaired the wall:

“Consider, the Son of the Right Hand, Yah’s helper, the work of Adonai, the cloud [glory] of Adonai building up the grace of the beloved.”

Prophetic voice found in the Millennial Temple of Messiah shown to the prophet Ezekiel:  “He [the angel] went to the east gate, climbed its steps and measured one of the gate’s doorposts at ten-and-a-half feet wide and the other one the same. There were guardrooms, each ten-and-a-half feet square; the distance between the guardrooms was eight-and-three-quarters feet” (Ezekiel 40:6-7). 

The Water Gate

“All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded for Israel” (Nehemiah 8:1-3).

The Water Gate led down to the Gihon Spring which was located near the Kidron Valley. It was at this gate the people of Israel gathered to hear Ezra read the Torah on the ‘first day of the seventh month’ or the Feast of Trumpets.

“Next to him, Pedaiah son of Parosh and the temple servants living on the hill of Ophel made repairs up to a point opposite the Water Gate toward the east and the projecting tower. Next to them, the men of Tekoa repaired another section, from the great projecting tower to the wall of Ophel” (Nehemiah 3:26-27).

The meanings of the names of those who repaired the wall to the Water Gate:

“Redemption of Adonai, a flea [come to seek my life], a confirming trumpet.” 

Prophetic voice from Ezekiel’s vision of the Millennial city of Jerusalem: “He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side” (Ezekiel 47:2).

The Horse Gate

“The whole valley of corpses and ashes, including all the fields as far as Vadi Kidron, and on to the corner of the Horse Gate to the east, will be separated out for Adonai; it will never be uprooted or destroyed again” (Jeremiah 31:39).

The Horse Gate was close to the king’s stables and the men of Jerusalem would ride their horses out of this gate to war. 

“Above the Horse Gate the priests made repairs, each one opposite his own house.  After them Tzadok the son of Immer made repairs opposite his house” (Nehemiah 3:28-29).

The meaning of the names of those who repaired the wall around the Horse Gate:

“A righteous lamb speaks.”

The prophetic voice: “Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness that he passes judgment and goes to battle” (Revelation 19:11).

East Gate

“Kore the son of Yimnah the Levi, gatekeeper at the East Gate, was responsible for the voluntary offerings to God; he had to distribute the offerings made to Adonai and the especially holy gifts” (2 Chronicles 31:14).

Eastern Wall where Yeshua will return …

The East Gate was part of the Eastern Wall and had an entrance directly to the Temple area and courtyards.  It is believed that Yeshua used this gate to ride into Jerusalem; however, the actual East Gate is now underground.   The Eastern or Golden Gate faces the Mount of Olives.  It is closed and waiting for the Messiah’s return to Jerusalem and the glory of Adonai to be restored in the Temple.

“After him Sh’ma‘yah the son of Sh’khanyah, the keeper of the East Gate, made repairs.  After him Hananyah the son of Shelemyah and Hanun the sixth son of Tzalaf made repairs on another section. After him Meshulam the son of Berekhyah made repairs opposite his own room” (Nehemiah 3:29-30).

The meanings of the name of the keeper of the East Gate and those who repaired the walls:

“He who hears or obeys Adonai, the divine presence settles.  Grace and mercy are a gift of Adonai.  God is my perfection, gracious and merciful, human paid  for friends.  Yahblesses.”

The prophetic voice: “The LORD’s glory entered the house through the gate facing east” (Ezekiel 43:4). 

The Inspection Gate

“He [King Hezekiah] appointed military commanders over the people, then gathered them before him in the open space at the city gate and spoke these words of encouragement to them: “Be strong! Take courage! Don’t be afraid … we have Adonai our God to help us and fight our battles!” (2 Chronicles 32:608). 

The Inspection Gate is also called the Muster Gate and is also perhaps the Gate of the Guard.  The Hebrew word for this gate is miphkad and means ‘appointed place.’  It was at this gate where King David would inspect his troops before heading into battle.  It is most likely the gate where King Hezekiah mustered his military commanders to remind them that Adonai fights Israel’s battles.  

“After him Malkiyah, one of the goldsmiths, made repairs as far as the house of the temple servants and the merchants, opposite the Mustering Gate and on to the upper room at the corner.  Finally, between the upper room at the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and merchants made repairs” (Nehemiah 3:31-33).

The meaning of the name of the goldsmith who worked on the Inspection Gate:

“Yah is King”.

The prophetic voice: “For we must all appear before the Messiah’s court of judgment [an appointed time called Yom Kippur], where everyone will receive the good or bad consequences of what he did while he was in the body” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

©2016 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author (Julie Almanrode) or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Shabbat in Jerusalem – February 8

Oh, it was difficult to get up after 14 hours of sleep.  The jet lag has finally caught up and the walking, too.  With stiff legs and sore feet, we trudged our way to Roeh Israel, a Messianic congregation very close to where we are staying.  We learned about this congregation from Har Tzion, the congregation we visited in Belo Horizonte, Brasil two years ago.   It’s kind of ironic that we found our Biblical roots at Roeh Israel in Denver, Colorado almost 23 years ago to the day.  What is even more interesting is that we had to travel through a snow storm to get there.  Toronto was our snow storm to Roeh Israel, Jerusalem! 

We passed so many men, women and children, walking toward their synagogues.  It reminded me of my childhood days when everyone made their way to worship services on Sunday.   As we passed by the Great Jerusalem Synagogue, there was this cute little girl holding her daddy’s hand wearing a pink tutu.

Our little congregation was held on the fifth floor of the City Building on Ben Yehuda Street.  About fifty people filled the room.   Prayers in Hebrew from the Sidur were sung and the singing was beautiful.   Singing the Shema in Israel – priceless.  Listening  to the Torah read in Jerusalem, prophetic.

Micah 4:2 “Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

The Torah Portion –

The leader of the congregation spoke about the dress of the priests and how it was to be for their glory and splendor.  It was an honor to dress as a priest for Elohim.  By putting the priests in ‘set apart’ clothing, they would be recognized by as priests.  Just as important, their clothing was a reminder to them of the importance and holiness of their position before God.

We, too must consider our dress as people in the presence of the Lord.  Though we are not to be judged by our outward appearance, our outward appearance affects our heart and our heart affects our outward appearance.  We should dress ‘in the congregation’ according to our means as those who are in the presence of the Lord.  Our dress affects our hearts, and when we dress as a royal priesthood, we will act like a royal priesthood.  According to Yeshua, we should not worry about what we wear, but we are to have the right clothes for the right occasion as explained in the Parable of the Wedding Feast.

The message was translated into English though it was fun to try to listen for Hebrew words that I recognized as the leader spoke.  The final prayers were for the IDF soldiers and protection over Jerusalem and Israel.  How blessed we were to stand ‘in the epicenter’ and  pray for those who protect this country as they have for centuries before.

After the service, we introduced ourselves to the woman sitting next us.  Believe it or not, she moved to Israel from Lakewood, Colorado.

After a quick lunch, we took a taxi to the Mount of Olives.  Because it was Shabbat, our taxi driver was Arab.   He took us through every Arab village he could find and it was definitely an experience in confusion and disorder on the roads.  When he finally dropped us off at the top of the Mount of Olives where we could view the Old City, we were not only overjoyed to see the beauty of Jerusalem from such a vantage point, but relieved we lived to see it. Think worse than NYC taxi drivers.

From the top of the Mount of Olives we could see the whole city of Jerusalem and the Kidron Valley below.  The Kidron Valley goes from Jerusalem all the way to the Dead Sea.

John 18:1 “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.”

We took the short walk from the top of the Mount of Olives to the Garden of Gethsemane passing cemetery after cemetery.  If you notice on the tombs there are little rocks.  It is the Jewish tradition to place rocks on tombs as we would flowers.   It is thought that these little rocks were the beginning of what we know as actual tombstones today.  There are many reasons for the stones ranging from the eternality of the stone as the soul of the deceased,  to let others know that the grave was visited and to remind everyone of the strength and presence of the Rock of Israel.   Next time you visit a huge cemetery, look for rocks on the tombstones and you will know that a Jewish person is buried there.

At the bottom of the Mount of Olives, we entered the little walled area claimed to be the place where Yeshua spent his last hours before being betrayed by Judas.  I’m sure in the summer it is lovely with flowering plants, but on this day, it was nothing but Olive trees.  I even ‘bought’ a little olive branch as a reminder to the olive trees.

We entered the Old City through the  King’s Gate or Sheep Gate in the Arab Quarter.  From this gate we followed the Via Doloroso route so we could see the remains of the Bethsesda Pools where Yeshua healed a lame man.   We did not enter into any churches built to memorialize some ‘station’ along the route that ‘might have happened there’.  We did not want to be distracted with the silver and gold of others’ temples when Yeshua walked through Jerusalem in simplicity and sorrow toward his impending death on the cross.  This is just the way we decided we wanted to visit the Land and why there are no photographs of churches.

John 5:1-9 “Some time later, Yeshua went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate (King’s Gate) a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Yeshua saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him,“Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Yeshua said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath ….”

The Via Dolorso runs into  Al-Wad Street.  This Arab street holds significant value for our family as many years ago through a British ministry to Israel, we were given this street in Jerusalem to pray for.  I had envisioned a quiet narrow street filled with Arab families and children playing in the street.   Though families may live there and children were running in the streets,  it was a very busy street with lots of venders screaming and yelling trying to entice people to buy their stuff.   It was packed with people, people, people and loud, loud, loud.   There were lots of men sitting in their storeways smoking hukkah.  I did relent and bought some fresh strawberries from a vendor which were bright red and deliciously sweet. One kind man did stop us to make sure we were going the right direction when we had our map open.  I believe he may have been an  answer to our prayers years ago, and, we were actually heading in the right direction.

We exited the Old City through the Damascus Gate where Arab venders were still everywhere yelling and selling everything imaginable.  People push and shove and it’s not conducive to feeling ‘safe’ except when you see IDF soldiers carrying their firearms.  And, yes, they are everywhere protecting the city and the country.

The traffic was crazy as we tried to cross the main thoroughfare to Nablus Street.  We wanted to make our way to the Garden Tomb via a very run-down trashed out street.  Normal tourists don’t walk this route we realized after we arrived at the tomb entrance and saw the parking lot full of tourist buses.

The Garden Tomb is a quiet place with lots of trees and again, probably flowers in the summer.  We walked to the Place of the Skull first.  As I was standing there looking at the rock that has eyes, nose and mouth like a skull, I overheard the tour guide for a group of people.  Strangely enough, I understood the language and it wasn’t English. He was speaking Brasilian Portuguese.  It was such a blessing from the Lord as I know people are here from around the world.   I was actually able to speak to some Brasilians in Jerusalem at the Garden Tomb.  How cool is that?  Yes, the nations.

Back home again.  Tired feet.  Trying to decide if we want to go to Ben Yehuda Street for post-Shabbat activities and food.  What would you do?

We went to Ben Yehuda Street.   It was like Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall only in the center of Jerusalem.  We heard it is the ‘hopping’ place for young people after the end of Sabbath.  True, that is.  Lots of young people either break dancing, singing, or just hanging out like regular young people.  Street musicians play guitars, violins, or accordians.  One man was playing a conck shell – big sea shell type thing we saw everywhere in the Bahamas.

We found a Kosher pizza place called “The Avenue”  and went in to order, but everything was in Hebrew – too much Hebrew for my slow mind to read.  I’m sure we not only looked hungry, but very bewildered.  A very nice young Jewish boy who spoke a little English asked us what we wanted.  We ordered what he had – a pizza –  and added some toppings.  I did recognize a Large Water and a Small Water and ordered 2 large ones.  THEY WERE HUGE which meant we would have to carry them all the way back to our apartment.  Though it’s not far, remember, we were tired and had sore feet!

This particular evening on Ben Yehuda Street I will always remember because you always remember where you are with something shocking happens in the world or your life.  While walking down Ben Yehuda Street, I received a text message from the woman who led me to the Lord 35 years ago.  Her son, who I love like my own children, whose little heart beat I heard while in his momma’s womb, decided to take his life.  For the moment, he was on life support, but with no brain activity.  My husband and I had to sit down and consider the impact on our hearts.  Memories flooded my mind while I walked the street in shock trying to embrace all the excitement post-Shabbat.  I saw a baby at my wedding, a young boy who spent time with my children, a young man who had a rebellious heart, and a grown man who struggled from so many undeserved events in his life.  I knew I had to call home to talk to my friend who has no idea what the future is for her 31-year old son.   While it’s wonderful to be here, it is so difficult to be away from her when her son, the joy of her life, is dying.

As I was getting ready to post this, I received a message that he passed away.

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