Thursday, April 26, 2018

April A to Z Challenge: W is for the Western Wall and Water


W is for the Western Wall
When we went to the Western Wall (some of you may have heard this called the Wailing Wall but the correct terminology is Western Wall) in 2016, it was raining. We stopped in a coffee shop and someone shared a piece of paper with me and I jotted down some prayer requests. We went to the wall and I prayed and crammed my pieces of paper in amongst the others – soooo many prayers are stuffed into those walls. It was a meaningful experience but it was not all it could be.
sitting in the café
writing our prayers on
slips of paper while
it is cold and rainy
outside



This year, I went prepared. I had been reading the scriptures about the sites we would visit. I had taken the time to pray about the trip and pray about what I wanted to write on my little slips of paper and I went prepared to meet God at that wall . . . and I did.
The men and women are in different locations and never the twain shall meet – EXCEPT there are chairs along the wall on the women’s side and you can stand in those chairs and peek over the wall.


view from over the fence
yes, I was standing in a 
plastic wobbly
chair

another view of the men's side

Women are praying at the wall. Women are praying in plastic chairs. It is a powerful place.
I will tell you a “funny” story – two years ago, I wrote my daughter’s name and my heart’s desire for her to meet not just “Mr. Right” but for her to meet the right man – the man whom God had picked for her. This year, when I returned to the wall, I was able to give thanks that she will be married this year!


these photos were taken
this year - 2018 and the
sun was shining
you can see how you lay your
hands on the wall to pray

if you look closely, you can see the white
slips of paper in the nooks and crannies

there are so many women praying - see all
those white plastic chairs??

What exactly is the Western Wall? It is one of the last remaining walls of the ancient Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. There is an open square in front of the wall where people gather to pray. This open square faces the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
The temple steps where we sat earlier are on the southern end of the western wall (southern wall).
The temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans and much of what remains of the original structure is this external supporting wall.
You have to understand that right there is the Temple Mount but Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount is completely forbidden. Muslims are free to pray on the Temple Mount, however Christians and Jews can only visit the site at limited times and only as tourists. During times of political tension, on Fridays, and on holy days, admission is limited to Muslim men over a certain age.

W is for Water
Have you ever wondered about drinking the water in Israel? In our hotels, the water is totally safe to drink. You can brush your teeth, drink a glass of water, etc.
During the day, our tour bus provides water for $1 a bottle, which is a good deal. At the front of the bus, a bin is built into the “dashboard” and it is filled with water and paying is on the honor system.
There is another interesting thing about water in Israel. As you drive around, you notice black towers on top of apartment buildings. These are water tanks.
As I was researching, I found this article on stanforddaily.com. The article is from 2014. “You can see evidence of separate and unequal treatment of Israelis and Palestinians. You can determine the distinction between Palestinian villages and Israeli settlements in the West Bank by looking at their roofs. Palestinians have multiple black water towers peppered all over every roof. The Israeli settlements either have no water towers at all (they have 24/7 access to water) or they have small white storage tanks/water heaters.”
The article goes on to say that Palestinians gather water in these tanks to use when they don’t receive their water from the Israelis (about once a week).
When there is an attack, these water storage units are often attacked.


look on the right side of
the photo - you can see one of the black
water towers/containers

this photo came from Stanforddaily.com like the quote
above


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