Israel Day 7

We left the Galilee area today and headed back to the capital city, Jerusalem. Wasn’t much actual touring today since the drive back was about two and a half hours. Our first stop on the road though was Qumran. While you may not recognize the name, this is the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Not only is there a lot of history here, but it’s a sight to see as well. The desert mountains and cliffs form a unique landscape, and you have a panoramic view of the dead sea. 
Next we headed to Bethlehem, the place of Jesus birth. We had an extended shopping time where you could buy intricate olive wood carvings, jewelry and other items. Lunch was at the Nissan Bro restaurant, and the highlight was (no surprise here) was the pita and hummus. Can’t get enough of that stuffus (sorry for the pun).
After lunch we drove to the Church of the Nativity. This is one of the few locations where we could be 100% sure that the event took place at this exact spot. That event being the birth of Jesus. A long wait to get in, but definitely worth it. We climbed down into a cave below the church and could see the manger where baby Jesus was most likely kept, and the spot believed to be where Mary and Joseph delivered the baby. It was truly extraordinary. We had a devotional time and singing around this site, and it was the first time I got deeply emotional about where I was. Usually, having to take pictures and video everywhere distracts me from the true meaning of where we are, but this place hit home. So glad we went.
Our last stop was Shepherd’s Field. I had already visited this site earlier in the week, but it’s nice to go with a large group and see their reactions as well. There’s a small church on the grounds there and another EO group was there the same time we were. We joined together and sang a few songs. It was another powerful moment, worshipping together and singing around the same place that shepherds heard the Good News thousands of years ago. 
We headed to the Olive Tree where we would be spending the next six nights. I really enjoy this hotel and being in the city of Jerusalem. Pray for us tomorrow as there may be some disturbances around the city, as it will be the anniversary of the 1948 siege of the city. People are unsure of what to expect, but I believe there will be nothing to worry about. Until tomorrow!
Today’s photos: