This was another stop on our first day in Israel. The place where Jesus often came to spend time with his disciples.
Where he taught.
Where he prayed.
Where he was betrayed.
The Garden of Gethsemane is located at the foot of the Mt. of Olives and is actually an olive tree grove. Some of the trees still standing are believed to be over 2000 years old.
They may have witnessed both the prayers and the betrayal. If only trees could talk the stories these could tell.
They could tell us of a heart wrenching prayer repeated three times.
They could tell of sleepy friends too tired to watch and pray.
They would trip over each others roots trying to describe the soldiers and the flying ear. They would raise their branches praising the healer of the ear and its owner. They would droop as they whispered of the flight of the friends and the betrayal.
It was a night I am sure they never would forget.
Unfortunately, much of this Garden is now gone. And what is left can only be seen from the outside of a protective fence.
No one prays under these branches any more.
This church now stands where much of the garden once stood. The church, elaborate and ornate, is beautiful, yet seems out of place. The columns and gold seem far removed from the antiquity of the gnarled olive trees.
After some prayer and reflection at the end of this first day in Israel, a powerful truth arose from pictures and discussion. Troy and I both were somewhat disgruntled with all the “stuff.”
Vendors grew out of the pavement and could smell tourists before a bus even rounded the corner.
Churches dotted the landscape in a most unbecoming way.
All the extra distracted from the essential.
God opened my eyes to see how this truth applies to my life.
I also have “extras” that distract me from the “Essential.”