Stones are lying, water is flowing
It is strange that one can just fly to Israel like this. It’s the same as if tickets to Eden were sold at the box office of the Belorussky station.
Although the one who has already been to the Middle East or at least to our own South, Israel is not impressive in the first minutes: well – in Tunisia we saw an Arab bazaar and abruptly; the brown marl under the feet is also familiar – according to Koktebel; exactly the same man-made garden-terraces with olive trees on the slopes of the mountains can be found in Greece; The Red Sea from the opposite, Egyptian side, will be more transparent than in Eilat, Tel Aviv does not make an impression after Abu Dhabi. No “Turkish delight” for you, no “Thousand and one nights” … A connoisseur of spicy oriental exoticism is too clean, decorous and expensive, although the prim European Eurocentr, on the contrary, is too homely and in a southern provincial (well, what’s it this, in fact, is a waiter in a hotel restaurant for the second time himself, without an invitation, shaking hands …)
Water. Even Israelis walk along the streets with cloth sacks on their sides, sewn to the standard size of a plastic one and a half liter “bomb.” “Water” and “life” are synonyms. And to us, the northerners – an obligatory norm: one and a half liters of water per day; the first half a liter in the morning, in one step, the rest – during the day. And it’s not a joke: many braggers who desperately despised the guide’s warnings (“the first sign of dehydration – I don’t feel like drinking at all”), with a dead face, suddenly settle on hot stones. Thirst here is not like in Russia: pampering, lazy desire to rinse a throat with a sweet carbonated solvent. It’s not about fat: the baroque splendor of all the sticky Coca-Cola and sprites recedes before the divine antique simplicity of Her Majesty the Water (some modern strategists even fear that the next war in the Middle East might not start because of oil, but precisely from due to moisture reserves). At the same time, local water from the tap is safely given to children to drink.
By the way, the Roman underground tanks of the Sheep Font, cut down in Jerusalem gold limestone two thousand years ago, perfectly retain moisture even now. And somewhere under the pavements the Gihon stream flows, one of the four biblical rivers, which before the arrival of the enemy troops, the inhabitants of Jerusalem more than two thousand years ago launched along a new channel, into a multi-meter tunnel, hiding it inside, outside the city walls … And, besieged, were able to withstand – taking water from the besiegers.
Water flows, stones lie. They are the main shrines of this land. One of them is split from top to bottom by a vertical crack and is called Golgotha. Over another on the Temple Mount, Muslims built a Mosque of the Rock one thousand three hundred years ago, a golden dome that covered the shrine of the once-destroyed Jewish Solomon’s Temple – a huge Creation Stone. Another one lies on Mount of Olives and holds the footprint of Christ, his last touch of the earth before the Ascension.
Here you understand that God is one, and that it was not by chance that it was on this earth that he spoke with his children, and they heard him. To the Christian or Jew, Muslim and atheist these stones say: “we are the beginning of the beginnings”, and in general, it doesn’t matter if these are ancient or new stones. Let the present Via Dolorosa go two meters higher and away from the ancient street along which Christ carried the cross – all the same, every Friday at two in the afternoon from the Franciscan monastery a procession of pilgrims repeating this path begins.
It is strange that you can simply live in Jerusalem: receive letters with the address “Sorrowful Way, House 9”, wander around the Jehoshaphat Valley, climb Calvary, go down to Fiery Hell …