This is from Meredith Cotton, a rising senior at JMU:
Southern steps of the temple
Yad Vashem Holocaust museum
Tunnels under the Western Wall
Garden of Gethsemane
Today was our first day in Jerusalem! It was pretty jam packed! We run where Jesus walked We started the day going to King Hezekiah’s tunnel where we walked through a 1600 meter tunnel filled with water up to our shins/knees at times. (Considering I’m not the biggest fan of dark tunnels, I was not incredibly enthused as we walked through but I kept telling myself to be like Batman and face my fear head on since that’s the only way to conquer it, hence the title ) Then we went to the southern steps of the temple where the Ark of the Covenant was kept! It was incredible to sit on the same steps that led to such a sacred temple. After that, we went to the Yad Vashem Museum which was a Holocaust museum (similar to the one in D.C) except this one caused a little more of a heartstrings tug for a lot of us! As we kept trekking through our packed day, we made our way to the tunnels under the Western wall where we got a tour and explanation of the original architecture from 2,000 years ago (Are you seeing a pattern with the tunnels? Talk about facing fears head on!!). Last but not least, we went to the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus knelt down and cried out in anguish to his Father as he knew he was about to face the most immense suffering on the cross. That awful injustice that we learned about today at Yad Vashem parallels the awful injustice that Jesus faced. He experienced persecution, racism, betrayal, and so much more. It’s incredibly hard for me to think about the injustice and brokenness that is so evident in our world, but what we learned and reflected on today in the garden showered us with hope. That day in the garden, Jesus felt stripped of his dignity, betrayed, and absolutely crushed, but in that moment of despair, He chose to go through with what he knew God’s will was because he knew YOU were worth it to him. On that cross, he took all the brokenness in this world upon himself so that he could set us free from the chains of this world (injustice, sin, fear, and so much more!) We were able to sit in the place where the road to redemption began and we were won! Praisin’ God for this truth: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” We love you! Thanks for your continued prayer!