We’ve only been in Jerusalem for 10 days, and we’ve already been to the Western Wall a few times. It is such a beautiful place, and I feel honoured that I have been here more than a dozen times in my life so far. On this day I took the boys by myself, and when I wasn’t getting anxious about them running down into the men’s area and me not knowing what I should do about that*, I was enjoying people-watching.
I love watching people back away from the wall, never turning their back on it. I love watching people sway while they pray. I love watching people take selfies in front of it, and I love seeing the religious men with their tallit and tzitzit, and beards.
How BIG are these stones? And to think that this is just the TOP of the wall. It goes so much further under (the current) ground. Huge! We went through the tunnels where you see the rest of the wall, back in 2009, and hopefully we will get to go again this year when my parents come to visit in June.
Lior was nervous, but eventually put his hands on the wall and asked me to help him pray. We prayed for the peace of Jerusalem and Israel, as he does each night. He knows it off by heart, but for some reason he wanted some prompting this time.
I got to explain to him about how King Solomon built this temple, and that Solomon asked God to hear our prayers when we come and pray here, even though we are foreigners.
“Also the foreigner who does not belong to your people Isra’el — when he comes from a distant country because of your reputation (for they will hear of your great reputation, your mighty hand and your outstretched arm), when he comes and prays toward this house; then hear in heaven where you live, and act in accordance with everything about which the foreigner is calling to you; so that all the peoples of the earth will know your name and fear you, as does your people Isra’el, and so that they will know that this house which I have built bears your name.”
– 1 Kings 8:41-43
The New Testament speaks frequently about how we are now the Temple, and that God’s spirit dwells in us, which is beautiful. For me this doesn’t take away from the importance or awesomeness of being in this actual spot, actually, being here and seeing how big and being able to really visualise how beautiful and important this place was, helps me to really understand what that means for my body to be that temple. I mean, if I don’t know how great and grand the first and second temples of God were, and I can’t see that in my mind’s eye, how am I supposed to truly understand the importance of those words saying that I am now that temple…
People have different opinions about the reality of a physical third temple being built. Revelations could be interpreted a number of ways on this, but I think I like to think that there will be a real third temple. If not on this earth, then certainly when the new heaven and new earth come I think there will be. Either way, I love that some Jewish people have funded and had built an actual golden menorah for the third temple. There it sits, near the temple site, correct to the Biblical specifications. What dedication, belief and resolve these people have! It’s really a great reminder of how zealous we should be for God and for the things he loves.
*If you’re wondering why I would be anxious about them running down onto the men’s side, it’s because the men and women are separated. I wouldn’t want to offend anyone by running down and collecting him from the men’s side, and I also wouldn’t want them to bother anyone praying there. I also wouldn’t want to them to get hurt down there by themselves…
I think in the end I would just try to find someone who spoke English and get them to go get them for me…