Bethlehem – journey to birthplace of Christ part III – The pools of King Solomon

Parts 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

After the chapel and the grotto park, the bus took us to another biblical location:-

The pools of King Solomon, there are three of them in fact, some background can be found here.  The bible mentions these in Ecclesiastes 2 It was a nice warm December day and you can imagine this being used as a storage for water which was so precious both back in Old Testament times and also today.    The police drove past in a rather nice new model VW Golf GTI, this vehicle decked in stripes in the usual familiar Palestinian green.  They asked one of the other members of the group to not sit on the wall as they seem quite protective of this ancient site.  (I had already got off the wall by then)   The actual pools are also guarded by fencing, although there is a small abandoned shed inside with graffiti on it.

Almost opposite these buildings there was this strange very new building, presumably built by the Palestinian government, its a conference centre and looks quite nice, but its not finished.   The main structure is all done, but there are no windows, doors or any kind of fittings, the neatly built steps and pathways are covered in weeds.  Its never been used.  I am guessing it was built no earlier that 1990s.  There is no sign of any nearby disturbance or damage, ie: signs of war.   I don’t think Israel is to blame for problems here with this or other PA government buildings.

Found some interesting information on some of PA’s infrastructure.   In preparation for planning to be an independent state, the Palestinian authority have an international telephone code of +970, Israel is +972, but either code can be used to call cities such as Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nabulus, Jericho as the telephone exchanges are still part of Israel, but some Islamic nations (Iran, Syria etc)  bar calls to Israel that have the +972 code, necessitating the +970 code.

It was then back the the coach to take us to the main thing that was centre point to Bethlehem.

Right: Looking out of a large multistorey car park onto Bethlehem’s bus station

Left: Christmas in full swing in a shop inside the multistorey car park.

More soon….

Parts 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

things to do in 2010…

Its now February and haven’t really fully thought about what I want to achieve this year.

Originally not long before I came back to the UK I wanted to get settled in my career and buy my own house, but this is to be shelved as God wants me back in Jerusalem to volunteer for a second season.

1/ Return to Israel and carry over keep the IT systems simple, reliable and effective for a Christian charity in Jerusalem.

2/ Visit sites and learn more about biblical history, not just Israel, I would also like to visit Malta, Turkey and Greece someday.  I am single chap, so I may as well make the most of be flexible to do things, as maybe that might not be so possible in the future.

3/ Spend less time on Facebook as it just eats lots of time, its nice to know what friends are doing and plan events and things but I dont really care about a lot of the extras.

4/ Cook more and learn to do Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Asian type food.

5/ Learn to deal better with my bank stuff, get money into an account that is better suited for overseas working, as my Lloyds TSB bank account charge loads for using debit card and ATM use.

6/ Get some extra IT qualifications, for this year to better serve my employer and for my future.

7/ Renew friendships with different people both in UK and Israel.   Also going to a wedding of a good friend who is getting married in Spain which I will visit in May.

8/ Get fitter, I am average weight (12 stone) for my 5ft 10 height, and I do a lot of walking, mainly going around town in Portsmouth and Jerusalem, but I get out of breath running, not sure why.   Really its a case of some how do some kind of physio or exercise to get strength back in my arm.

9/ Be better at bible study, I am a lot of below average on biblical knowledge compared to most Christians.

This year has a few sacrifices, I have had to sell my car as its just sitting here and rather let it depreciate in value and find somewhere else to store it again, this is sad as I do really enjoy driving, especially going through the woods to see a friend in Haslemere, close to Guildford, or when I was work driving around the New Forest.  Of course, being away from friends and family is another, but I will home in May for a short time whilst I see my sister as her baby is expected then and the above break in Spain.