Day 8, Jan 14

14 JAN ~ Saturday ~ Pools of Bethesda, Via Dolorosa, Ein Kerem ~   Today we shared the most meaningful experience of the pilgrimage with the Via Dolorosa and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  We entered the Old City at the Lion’s or St. Stephen’s Gate, by St. Anne’s Church at the Pools of Bethesda (John 5:1-9.) After a few songs in the lovely St. Anne's Church, we began our walk through the 14 stations of the Via Dolorosa, Christ’s route to the Cross, meditating at each and ending at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where we had mass. As we passed through the streets of the Old City we saw the colorful Arab bazaar, usually an active scene as it would have been on that Friday long ago.  After lunch we had the very special opportunity to visit the Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem and hear him speak about how we can help the Christians in the Holy Land. In the afternoon, we continued to Ein Kerem, where John the Baptist was born, to visit the Church of the Visitation (Luke 1:46-55.)  This lovely hilltop church displays the Magnificat in many languages of the world. Jeff gave a teaching there. We returned to the Olive Tree Hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening.