Our second day of production began early as we tried to beat the heat. After loading hundreds of pounds of equipment on the bus, we headed for the Southern Steps that led up to the Jewish Temple in the days of Jesus. This area is interesting because archaeologists say that some of these steps date from the first century. It’s not hard to imagine Jesus and other rabbis teaching their disciples on these steps, directly across from the Mount of Olives.
The downside of this location is that by about 9:00 a.m. the step area heats up like an oven. I’d forgotten how quickly a summer Jerusalem sun can drain the strength out of you. By the end of the day I was so whipped I couldn’t think about journaling anything. One of my only consolations was that I wasn’t the only one who had a hard time with the heat. Even one of the most seasoned members of our crew was not above grabbing an umbrella looking for shade :-).
As we pulled our team together to explore the significance of the day that Jesus chased the moneychangers out of the temple, we heard the strong, melodic voice of this orthodox man singing from the street and toward the site of the ancient temple.
Before the day was over we also recreated a Passover/Last Supper event and talked about the significance of the meal Jesus shared with his disciples in the big picture of the unfolding story of the Bible. In spite of the seriousness of our subject, we also had some good laughs as we tried to get in position around a table without legs– and hold that position, with some pain, through as many “takes” as it took for the camera.
The next day was the holiday of Shavuot on the Jewish calendar. Also known as the Feast of Weeks, it happens 50 days after Passover. Just outside of the Dung Gate (leading to the Western Wall Plaza), this orthodox man had a highly decorated case containing the Torah (five books of the Law).
What I find so interesting is that on this holiday, Jewish people celebrate and remember the giving of the Law on Sinai. It is on this same feast day that that the New Testament says the Holy Spirit was given to followers of Christ (Pentecost). I’ve mentioned in other posts that I find the convergence of Jewish holidays with important events in the life of Jesus so compelling.
Last night something really strange happened as we prepared to do a night shoot outside of the traditional site of Caiaphas, the high priest who turned Jesus over to Pilate (also where Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus). A falcon landed on the shoulder of our executive producer and then hung around for awhile. Jeff’s problem is that he felt the bird land on his shoulder, but didn’t want to turn to look at for fear of getting his eye pecked. We were all yelling, “Don’t move. This is unbelievable. We’ve got to get a picture!” :-)
We tried to use the bird in the piece we were recording, but then decided that he would get more attention than the point we were discussing. (We have no idea where the falcon came from. He seemed like a young bird that had bonded with someone other than its mother.)
Today we began our day at the Herodian family tomb located just behind the King David Hotel. It’s a good example of the kind of first century tomb that the New Testament connects to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The scholars who joined us to talk about the importance of the bodily resurrection of Christ made a very strong case for the historical evidence.
After some additional production we headed north to the Galilee where we plan to spend the next two days.
We’ve been working hard, but having a lot of laughs, and feeling so honored to have a chance to explore the life and teachings of Jesus in the land and places where he lived, taught, did miracles before his voluntary death and powerful resurrection.
Wish everyone could have this kind of experience…