Jessica Juwono decided to go on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem before she continued her education in Tokyo. Here, she talks about some of the historical and holy places she visited.

During my recent trip to Jerusalem, other than the warmth and closeness to God that I felt when I landed, I was able to visit a number of well-known churches and gardens. Some of these are linked directly to Jesus Christ, and I was given the opportunity to learn about the history and heritage of each one. Some left me simply breathless, so I’d like to take this opportunity to share them with you.

 

Church of St. Anne

This church was built where Mary, mother of Jesus, was born. Just next to the church lies a pool of water that is believed to heal the sick. The most beautiful part of this church, which is also something that none of the other churches has, is a beautiful movement of sound. I was able to sing by the altar and it was transformed into an acoustic melody, able to be heard by everyone in the church.

 

Church of the Nativity

This, according to local history, is the place where Jesus was born. The only access is via a small door, which meant that we all had to bend down to enter. Most people pray with their hands sliding through a silver star with 14 branches in the cave,since it is also believed to be the place where Christ was buried.

 

Town of Bethlehem

The two days I had in Bethlehem were truly unforgettable because I was able to walkthoughthe pastures with a shepherd, a feeling that must be unchanged for two millennia.

 

Church of the Beatitudes

Located on the north of Tabgha, this church was given its name because it is the place where Jesus Christ conveyed the eight sermons of happiness to his disciples. With its cool, crisp air, I was also able to take in the picturesque view of the Sea of Galilee.

 

Mount Zion

The tomb of Mother Mary is reputedly located in a church on this mountain, and I was blessed to be able to touch the sculpture of a sleeping Mary that is located here.

 

Church of St. Peter Galicantu

This church is one that denied Christ entry three times. Despite its beauty and its “sacred stairs”, we were not allowed to enter because tourists have a habit of taking home rocks from the stairs.

 

Mount Sinai

This is where Moses received the Ten Commandments and also the first mountain I have ever climbed. Despite my fear of heights, I overcame my phobia and trekked up this mountain. We departed at 11pm and it took us about an hour-long camel ride followed by a walk. Surprisingly, my fear disappeared when I saw how close we were to the stars. We finally reached the top at approximately 4am and we sang hymns while waiting for the sun to rise. I will never stop being grateful for what I experienced on the top of the mountain and I truly hope to be able to visit Mount Sinai again.

 

Cana of the Galilee

Jesus Christ performed his first miracle at Cana. Other than joining the mass, couples usually visit Cana to renew their vows. This place is special to me because my parents came here to renew their vows on their 25th anniversary. I was lucky enough to be able to pray at the same place they did, and, of course, pray for their happiness.

 

Calvary

Jesus Christ was crucified at Calvary, also known as Golgotha, and it was also here that he was made to drag the cross. Along with my mother and brother, we decided to carry a cross, which was actually lighter than that which Jesus carried, and trod the same path. My heart was heavy and I cried while doing this because it made me imagine the kind of suffering that Jesus was put through before he was crucified. Other than the holy sites I visited, I also witnessed a beautiful belly dance while

Other than the holy sites I visited, I also witnessed a beautiful belly dance while travelling along the River Nile on a ferry and indulging in traditional delicacies. I always enjoy merging with a country’s local culture, especially its local delicacies. Some of myI always enjoy merging with a country’s local culture, especially its local delicacies. Some of my favorite local foods are St. Peter’s fish, shalom falafel, wine Kana, sabich, hamin and malawach.

I was so glad and truly blessed to be able to visit Jerusalem and the places in the Bible that I grew up learning about. The experience of being able to pray in these places was truly second to none. I do hope to be able to come back to Jerusalem again someday.

For more our exclusive photos of our travel to Jerusalem please flip trough our pages in Indonesia Tatler October 2016 edition.

 (Text by Jessica Juwono)


Tags: Travel, Luxury, Jessica Juwono, Destinations, Jerusalem