Sights and Insights: Hopes on the slope to J'lem

Passover and Easter bring to mind pictures of the Messiah; both for Jews and for Christians.

By WAYNE STILES
March 26, 2012 15:29
3 minute read.
View from Mount of Olives

Mount of Olives 370 DO NOT REPUBLISH. (photo credit: Wayne Stiles)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Wayne Stiles has never recovered from his travels in the Holy Land. Follow him on Twitter (@WayneStiles) or on his blog at www.waynestiles.com.


People often ask me if I have a favorite place I’ve visited in Israel. “You mean other than Jerusalem?” I usually reply with a smile. 


Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


No other city in history comes close to Jerusalem’s significance.


Others have had more power, more land, more people, more natural resources—even more prestige—but none has more significance. And none ever will.


Yet when you see Jerusalem for the first time, you may wonder why all the fuss. Except for the Temple Mount with its golden Dome of the Rock, the city seems drab. No skyscrapers pierce the skyline of Israel’s capital city. Only some scattered antennae, towers, domes, cranes, crosses and crescent moons protrude in a tangled mess—like wheat and tares. Myriads of dumpy buildings and uneven rooftops betray the hodgepodge of intentions each era has imposed on the city’s fixed spaces.


The tour group I traveled with began the sharp descent from the Mount of Olives by following a narrow road with high walls on either side. On top of the walls, colored pieces of broken glass jutted up from the concrete as a primitive barbed-wire fence. Immediately to my left was a sign: “Tombs of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.” Although the first- century kokhim (shaft) tombs could not have belonged to these sixth- and fifth-century B.C. prophets, I found it interesting that Zechariah, who foresaw Israel’s King coming on a donkey, would allegedly rest on the slope where his words found fulfillment.


Mount of Olives (Wayne Stiles)




The high wall on my left overlooked a vast Jewish graveyard—the largest in the world. Literally thousands of white tombs give testimony to the Jewish hope that when the Messiah comes, “His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives” (Zech. 14:4), and those buried there will stand first in line for blessing (see Daniel 12:2; Revelation 20:11-15). Just last week I saw a group of mourners surrounding a grave. 


The high wall to my right enclosed the grounds of the Dominus Flevit Church. The chapel’s name means, “the Lord wept,” memorializing the moment Jesus wept over Jerusalem (see Luke 19:41). The roof of the quaint chapel resembles the shape of an inverted teardrop. I entered and walked to the altar on the right and the large arced window that frames the city of Jerusalem. The window’s decorative wrought-iron bars depict a cup, a loaf, thorns and a cross. A few potted plants and candles sat on the sill. The capstone above the window supports a stone relief of Jesus riding a donkey with his face in his hands.


Dominus Flevit Church (Wayne Stiles)


As I stared out the window at the city over which the Lord had wept, it seemed as though I gazed through a porthole of time. The wrought-iron elements of Jesus’ Passion overshadowed the city. I couldn't see Jerusalem without also seeing the cross. 


As I continued down the steep road, I had to marvel at the contrast on either side of me. One wall guarded the hope that the Messiah will come one day. The other wall guarded the belief that he already had come. Only a narrow, steep road separated these two walls. Somehow the distance seemed much greater. 


Passover and Easter bring to mind pictures of the Messiah—both for Jews and for Christians. The Mount of Olives echoes these hopes from its slopes. 


How to Get There: 
Drive to the top of the Mount of Olives to the Seven Arches Hotel. Walk past the camel and the merchants and descend the road toward the Kidron Valley. 


What to Do There: 
Visit the Jewish cemetery and enjoy the view from the slope. Visit the Dominus Flevit Church and view the city through its iconic window inside the chapel. 


Wayne Stiles has never recovered from his travels in the Holy Land. Follow him on Twitter (@WayneStiles) or on his blog at www.waynestiles.com. This post was adapted from Wayne’s book, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus (Regal Books, 2008).

Passover 5772: Click for JPost special features

Related Content

El Al
August 16, 2014
The Travel Adviser: For El Al, mission accomplished

By MARK FELDMAN