Southern/Western Wall Excavations
The southern wall of the temple mount has been largely uncovered, it has been found out that the original retaining wall of the mount was 1/3 higher and 1/3 lower than today. The wall has been repaired and exists up to about 2/3 of the way up the wall. The second main entrance to the temple was via a grand staircase that was suspended by archways. The wall was covered in plaster, but the stones underneath are cut beautifully anyway. South of the Temple Mount is the area believed to be where David kept the ark of the covenant while the temple was being built, in an area called the Ophel. On the South wall was the main entrance to the temple. There was a set of stairs going up and another going down. Once one went through the gate at the top of the steps, he would then go through a tunnel which took him to the top of the platform. When one entered or left the temple, he always was to take the set on the right. There is a rock at the top of one of the staircases on which Jesus would have stepped when coming out of the temple. It is most likely that James was thrown off the SE corner of the temple mount.
The Wailing Wall—“Western Wall”
Jews pray at the Western Wall today because it is believed that this is the closest they can get to the Holy of Holies of the temple. They put prayers on pieces of paper into the cracks of the wall. This tradition started by a Moroccan student named Azalah whose rabbi’s prayer was answered when he did this.
The Upper Room
Jesus sent the disciples to the upper room here, there is also a cave in the basement of the church here, supposedly King David’s tomb. The church was turned into a Mosque, ironically, it’s the only place in which Muslims, Jews, and Christians can all worship. On the roof is the place closest to the temple that the Jews could come in 1948. It was turned into the “Wailing Wall” of the time. The “President’s Room” is here, where the Prime Minister came to pray every morning.
Bethlehem (185,000 today)
We went into Bethlehem (West Bank) where we were met by a Palestinian guide who took us to the church of the Nativity. It was also a dark, creepy place. Then we went to the Sheperd’s Field YMCA where we saw a shepherd’s cave, as well as the possible of Ruth and Boaz’ fields.