We visited another church while in the Arab quarter, and I snapped a photo of a cactus-type plant on the grounds. This is just one of the beautiful flowers we saw blooming in the Jerusalem area. Many of the plants grow in my home state of Florida.
This small chapel contained some beautiful artwork. The decorative window in the photo above looks out over the Old City. Below is a floor mosaic in the chapel, and the third is of the awe-inspiring and dramatic ceiling.
Our tour guide decided we would make the trek on foot from the Mount of Olives to the Lions Gate. It wouldn't have been a problem except for one thing: it started raining. The streets of Jerusalem are paved with stone, and when they get wet, they're very slippery. Imagine walking down a very steep slope covered in ice. I prayed the entire way, and was super careful because I didn't want to fall and get hurt.
Along the way, we encountered street vendors selling umbrellas and various tourist-type souvenirs. It was precarious, having to fight our way through them, plus maintain our balance on the slippery street. Many of the holy sites for Christians are in the Arab quarter, so they have lots of opportunities to make money, and they take advantage of them...even in the rain.
G-d answered my prayers that we arrived safely at the bottom of the hill without an accident, plus the rain stopped. Here are a couple of photos of the wall surrounding the Old City as we approached the Lions Gate.
The photo below is of a rocket that was fired into Jerusalem. A silent reminder of the type of threat the residents live under daily.
While we were at this spot, and before we crossed the street to the Old City area, Natalie told us we were to just keep walking and not talk the people around the entrance, even if they spoke to us. I thought this was a bit odd.
As we walked toward the Lions Gate, which is the entrance to the Arab Bazaar, I sensed an air of tension. I saw a large group of Arab men standing there, just watching us as we passed by. They sneered at us, and the look in their eyes was contemptuous and hate-filled. I admit to being frightened and started praying for our safety.
For some reason, we were not allowed to go through the gate, and had to stand on the sidewalk for a few minutes. G-d answered prayers again, when I noticed several Israeli soldiers standing near the gate, complete with their automatic weapons. I breathed a sigh of relief and thanked G-d for his protection.
While near the gate, I snapped these photos. You can see how it got its name, as there are two lions on each side of the entrance.
This gate is the beginning of the Via Dolorosa (the path Yeshua took to the cross), and the entrance through which Israeli soldiers came during the Six-Day War. It is also known as St. Stephen's gate because the Christian martyr was stoned in the nearby Kidron valley.
When we entered the gate, we ran into a large group of Arab school children. I love this picture. Seeing their bright faces eased the tension of the moments before.
We made our way to an Arab restaurant for lunch. The food was good, but the owner became very upset when I asked to change my order from chicken to felafels. He said I would have to pay the higher price. I said, "No problem." Once again, I felt the tension in this area and started praying.
We found out later that there had been a big fight at this restaurant the next day. I thanked G-d it had not happened to us during our visit. Spiritual warfare prayer works, Gail-Friends.
The look on Natalie's face speaks volumes, doesn't it? So much for warm fuzzy feelings on the Via Dolorosa.
I'll be honest with you, I felt very few warm fuzzies while in Israel. I am very sensitive to demonic spiritual presence. I have never in my life felt such an evil spirit as what I experienced while there. The fact that three religions co-exist here does not mean they live peacefully. Far from it. There is hate in this place.
On my previous trip, I saw a Hassidic young man being beat up by three Arab boys on the street in Jerusalem. Our female tour guide on that trip stopped the bus. She, and a female police officer on the tour, got off and broke up the fight. Our Arab bus driver just watched and made no move to help.
We had to replace the driver later because he became very angry and abusive to our all-woman tour group and began to drive the bus dangerously. He drove very fast around steep mountain curves, which slung us from one side of the bus to the other. I honestly thought he wanted to kill us.
Also on the previous trip in 1996, our bus was stoned while leaving Jerusalem.
While we were visiting Jericho in 1996, we stopped at an Arab restaurant for lunch. The spirit of hate was so strong in that place, I could not eat. Trust me, I have to be very upset to miss a meal. I saw another tour member get up and walk outside. I followed her, and she said, "Can you feel it...the evil spirit?" I agreed, and we prayed together for the people in the area.
There are some Arabs who claim Israel as their land, but the stones of the structures in the Old City contradict them. They will not receive the truth - or the G-d who speaks the Truth. Peace will never come until His plans and Word are fulfilled. I pray it happens soon.
. The gate is the beginning point of the Via Dolorosa and was also the entrance point for Israeli troops during the Six-Day War - See more at: http://goldenandlionsgate.org/gates-of-jerusalem/#sthash.XWUgti2I.dpuf
The gate is the beginning point of the Via Dolorosa and was also the entrance point for Israeli troops during the Six-Day War. - See more at: http://goldenandlionsgate.org/gates-of-jerusalem/#sthash.XWUgti2I.dpuf