Day 9 of Our Pilgrimage In Israel

We went back to Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the morning. It was too crowded the other day.

Rock of Calvary where Jesus was crucified.
I think this is still inside Church of the Holy Sepulchre
The Church of Saint Lazarus

Lazarus was Jesus’ friend. Actually, I am confused about the relationships of some people in the New Testament. Mary is one of them. I know Virgin Mary well. I mean, I don’t know her personally but I am not confused about her identity. What I am confused is the identity of Mary Magdalene. Whenever a woman appeared in the gospel, she was referred to as Mary Magdalene. So, she was a prostitute, the one who washed Jesus’ feet, the one who sat down and listened to Jesus while her sister was cooking, the one at the cross crying, and the first one who went to the tomb and found out the resurrection of Jesus. She had too many identities, so many that I am not convinced that they were the same person. In fact, it didn’t make any sense to me. A prostitute can definitely repent and change but other stories that mentioned her and her reactions and the things she did or said were so different from the prostitute, unless Mary Magdalene had multiple personalities. I am not saying that the Bible is wrong. Rather, it’s the interpretation of the Bible that I am unsure of. It may be too convenient to say all these ‘people’ are actually the same person rather than investigating who was who when there is not enough evidence. And Mary Magdalene, for some, may be just an insignificant figure in the gospel. Or maybe back in those days (2000+ years ago), male played a dominant role in the world so women and children were ‘inferior’ and so nobody really cared about them. Even after Jesus said that we should be like children when it came to accepting the truth and we should respect both our parents, i.e. male and female, and he even consoled the women when he was carrying his cross, it didn’t help. Hence, not much detail was given about the different women that Jesus met and made friends with. As time went on, people became confused about the many Marys that Jesus knew so they were conveniently referred to as ‘Mary Magdalene’. (Mary was a very common name in those days.) Shall I see ‘Mary Magdalene’ as a symbol rather than a ‘person’?

I still feel uncomfortable when people say that the prostitute was Mary Magdalene.

I am stubborn.

I know.

But in a good way.  

Inside the Church of Saint Lazarus
Resurrection of Jesus
Lazarus ‘woke up’ after ‘being stuck’ in the tomb for a few days. Actually, it was Jesus who raised him. Hence, he could resurrect like what Jesus did later on.
The formation of the Rain Shadow Desert 😀 Time for some fun in the Dead Sea. Before that, let’s have a geography lesson.
The barren desert, the kind of desert that Jesus stayed when he was tempted by the demons.
The secret of Qumran

This is where Dead Sea Scroll, the ancient Jewish religious manuscript, was discovered.

About the scrolls and how it was written
Ritual bath
The scroll cave. This is where the scrolls were first found by the Bedouins in 1952 and later more scrolls were discovered by the archaeologists.

We were exposed to the sun for so long when we learnt about the scrolls. It was really amazing! You just have to go there yourself. 😊

The view of Jericho
Some hermits live there.
We had our lunch here. Was the food tempting? Hm… I don’t remember.
Jericho, the lowest place on Earth. Four years before this trip in 2005, I went to a high point on Earth – my beloved Tibet.
Elisha Spring Fountain

What should we do after lunch?  Of course, just like any other tourists, we put on our swimming togs and literally floated on the Sea!!  The mud from the Dead Sea was very good for the skin. Guess what we did then? Yeah! You got it! The ‘Must-do’. We put the mud on our faces!!! LOL!! 

At night, we explored the neighbourhood again with our organiser. 😊 Actually, not the neighbourhood. The organiser secretly asked the bus driver to take a handful of us to some secret places. A handful because there was limited capacity in one of those places that we were going to go and we had to be very quiet when we left our lodging. I actually don’t know why I was picked. Maybe it was because of my camera:

My groupmate, the one who is a photography enthusiast, taught me how to take better photos at night. Here you are. It’s really better than my previous ones. 😊
Montefiore Windmill
As we left the windmill, we walked down these stairs. It looked so artistic.
Broken railway lines in the centre of the city

This was the highlight of our night tonight 🤫 :

We visited Notre Dame and met the other priests there. They were having some sort of a celebration which I don’t remember. Anyway, they invited all of us to join.

That night, we went back to our lodging with a full stomach. My roommate and I were extremely satisfied. 😊

31 July 2009

P.S. After I published this blog, I talked to a friend of mine who is now attending a Bible teaching course. I asked her about Mary Magdalene. She said there were actually a few Marys in the Bible. She sent me a link in which it said there were 6 female with the same name Mary in the Bible. So, my gut feeling was right. The Mary Magdalene I mentioned above was the one who had seven demons and Jesus got rid of all of them. She was also the same Mary Magdalene who first discovered that Jesus resurrected. So, there you go. 🙂 I am happy. 🙂

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