Kidron Valley

Olives’ shoulder

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The summer sun has done its work. Jerusalem’s landscape is now brittle brown.

I left my room early in the morning to walk the hills east of the city. Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives are less like mountains and more like long ridges with a saddle between. Both are home to many olive trees, some at least a thousand years old.

For part of my walk I followed the Jerusalem Trail, a two-day loop that circles the city.


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I am between groups today, but look forward to meeting a new crew tomorrow. If you or someone you know is interested in experiencing Jerusalem personally, consider joining one of our trips scheduled for 2020 or 2021! These educational experiences operate as part of the ministry of the Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies. Find a trip that works with your schedule by clicking the link here or contact me directly at markziese@gmail.com. We are currently working on group reservations for 2022.

Tomb shield

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A modest structure rests in the Kidron Valley just outside of Jerusalem's walls. It shields a crypt that, according to tradition, once held the remains of Mary, mother of Jesus. Signage is absent but if one peers down into an enclosed courtyard just to the north of The Church of All Nations, it will be immediately visible.

The stonework of the façade and around the wide staircase just inside the door hails from the Crusader period. The tomb beneath is believed to be first century, albeit modified later in the Byzantine period. 

The New Testament does not report the end of Mary's life, although several early accounts--sometimes contradictory--speak of her life beyond the resurrection of Jesus.


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Interested in visiting Israel/Palestine yourself?  Pastors, professors, and their spouses are invited to participate in a unique experience. Join us Jan 8-15, 2019, for a rich engagement with the Land of the Bible. Priced at a deep-discount level, this trip introduces leaders to the potential and pitfalls of group travel to this exciting part of the world. See the tab marked "Future Trips" at markziese.com.