Tuesday, May 28, 2013

holy land tour, day nine : the herodian and bethlehem


Today we saw what remains of the impressive palace/fortress/tomb that King Herod the Great built for himself beyond Bethlehem—the Herodian. It was complete with its own private theater, Olympic-size pools, public dining hall, etc.; yet as I stood amid what had once portrayed incredible wealth and power to the surrounding world, I felt pity for Herod. He had been called “great,” and he had been very fortunate in the gain of worldly assets, yet all that remains now is a partially uncovered accumulation of old stones. (Don’t tell Pastor Randy I said that.) The view was pretty nice, though—I can’t blame Herod for wanting to build there!


After the Herodian, we went into Bethlehem to commemorate events marked by several churches—the Church of the Nativity, the Church of St. Catherine, Shepherds’ Hill, and the Milk Grotto. They all emphasize something I rarely think about: the humanity of Jesus Christ. In my experience, the western world seems to prefer a theological and mystical Jesus, who looked like us but somehow had a “glow in the dark” kind of quality. But these churches focused on the man Jesus who, though fully God, didn’t necessarily come off all that much different from the rest of the human race.


And finally… a few pictures from our after-hours fun on Ben Yehuda Street just after the end of Shabbat, where the moon was full and I got a rather delicious hot chocolate. :)


I do love this place.

1 comment:

  1. I do like the view from Herod's palace :) And those pictures of the churches! I've seen pictures from the same places before, but it was really cool knowing you had taken them and had been there :)



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