Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5)
I had asked the Lord before we left for Israel to help me think of pilgrimage. My heart needed to be set on him so when I walked almost literally where he walked I could get a sense of his presence in a different way.
Pilgrims stream to Jerusalem from the three major monotheistic religions. We were constantly jostling through groups that could be labeled “tours” but were also pilgrims who had come to a holy place. We were coming to a place of history and deep meaning.
There may have been no better place of sensing true pilgrimage for me than at the Temple Mount. Our group came down to the base of southwest portion of the Temple Mount and walked on pavement that quite possibly could have been there when Jesus walked by in his time.
A place where he came with his disciples. A place his disciples came all the time and when Pentecost came, this was the place where thousands came to faith and the Church was born.
We sat on the south steps leading up to the Temple Mount. This area was huge. Groups would sit on these steps as their rabbis would teach them. Peter may have been teaching on these steps. Jesus may have been teaching on these steps.
On THESE steps!
On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 were saved and baptized. All around this area were ritual baths mainly used for private ritual baptism going into the Temple area. That day, those ritual baths would have been filled with new believers as the Church was born.
Then, there was the Western Wall. A section open to Jews and Christians where they can come to the foundation wall of the Temple Mount area and pray. Again… pilgrimage. I stood at that wall, touching it at one point. I stood weeping and read from Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 27, and Psalm 84.
My heart was set on him.