Our group went to the Western Wall this afternoon. The Western Wall, sometimes called the Wailing Wall by non-Jews, is part of the enclosure built by Herod the Great around the temple precinct in Jerusalem. The temple and everything else on the top of the platform was destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70.
The Western Wall is now a place for prayer. Men have a large portion of it for their use. To the south there is a small area for women. I entered the enclosure north of the men’s section to get a photo of Wilson’s Arch. When I came out I noticed a workman on the lift trying to get something out of the wall with a long stick. At first I thought he was removing some of the paper prayers that had been left in the wall by worshipers. I learned from one of our ladies who was there that a snake had been seen by the ladies.
Of more interest to me was that the snake was somewhere around the lintel of Barclay’s Gate.
It is not often that one see’s men on the women’s side of the Western Wall plaza. Well, I never have before.
A number of biblical references come to mind. The prophet Amos says,
18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the LORD, For what purpose will the day of the LORD be to you? It will be darkness and not light;
19 As when a man flees from a lion And a bear meets him, Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall And a snake bites him.
20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness instead of light, Even gloom with no brightness in it? (Amos 5:18-20 NAU)
I imagine the same thing would happen to a woman as well as to a man.
We recall the serpent of the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). Paul used that event as an illustration.
But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3 NAU)
Earlier today we visited the Herodian Family tomb, the Second Temple Model, Shrine of the Book, and the archaeological section of the Israel Museum. I had visited the renovated Museum in January and was ready to take the group to some of the more significant biblically related artifacts. For the earlier discussion of some of these things see here (Old Testament) and here (New Testament).
In the afternoon we entered the Old City and visited the Jewish Quarter and the Western Wall.
We look forward to completing our planned visit of the Old City tomorrow. Lots of walking in the Old City.
Everyone in the group is doing well and seems to be enjoying the experience. We have about a dozen who have been here at least once before. They are seeing new things every day and enjoying a revisit to things they saw on a previous tour.