Well, after about twenty hours of travel (Lexington, Chicago, D.C., Zurich, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem) and about three hours of sleep I finally arrived in Jerusalem at the Jerusalem University College. On the bus from Tel Aviv I met several students coming to the same class from Asbury Seminary. It is a small world!
JUC is located on the southwest corner of the Old City. In fact, part of the building’s foundation is carved from bedrock that was a part of Hezekiah’s walls when he expanded the City. The School itself is rented from the Anglican church. We are just south of a Greek Orthodox seminary and just north of the Hinnom Valley (otherwise known as Gehenna). So, they have a joke there that “JUC is a Protestant church sliding away from Orthodoxy into Hell!”
Today we spent some time in the classroom getting oriented to the layout of the Old City. Imagine layer upon layer of cultures and empires constantly building, tearing down, and rebuilding. The Old city is a labyrinth of winding streets of rock polished by centuries of walking. It is divided into Jewish, Muslim, Armenian, and Christian quarters. In the afternoon we did a sweeping walking tour that was intended as an overview of the city.
Walking through the streets of the Old City is an amazing experience. You see Orthodox and Chasidic Jews, Greek Orthodox Priests, Dominican monks and nuns, and people of every nation. I cannot count the languages I heard today; French, Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, German, Ukranian…..
Tomorrow we will do a tour of specific Old Testament sites in the city. In particular we will walk through Hezekiah’s tunnel which he built to channel water into the city. We will be wading through waist-high water! I can’t wait.
I hope to send pictures and post stuff semi-regularly, but it may take me a few days to get going. I am praying for and with you.