Thursday, January 12, 2012

Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock is a must see for all in Jerusalem. Actually, you can't miss it. The blue tiled walls and golden dome can be seen from anywhere overlooking the city.

The fountain directly in front of the Dome of the Rock
As you may already know, the Dome of the Rock has special symbolism to almost every major world religion. The gold dome literally covers a rock, the same rock that Muslims (who currently control the area) believe Muhammad saw the vision that made him into their last prophet. However, the terrace that surrounds the area, known to some as Mount Moriah, is the same place where both the first and second Temples were built by the children of Israel--the first was destroyed around 587 BCE, and the second was leveled by the Romans in 70 AD. The Temple held special significance to the Jews because it was built on the spot where Abraham traveled to sacrifice Isaac (See Genesis 22).

Because of the sacred nature of the sight, many Orthodox Jews won't enter the Temple mount area for fear that they may step on the very spot that contained the "Holy of Holies" when their Temple still stood. Muslims temporarily closed the Dome of the Rock to Christians, as well, but have recently reopened the terrace (only Muslims are allowed inside). 

As interesting as the sight was to see, and despite the realization of the sacredness of the spot, the most meaningful thing I saw was the fountain directly in front of the main entrance. Surrounding the fountain were faucets placed in front of stone seats where people sit to wash their feet before entering the Mosque. I immediately thought of all of the many references to washing one's feet in the scriptures, the most significant being the Savior washing each of the Apostles' feet before He entered the Garden of Gethsemane. I have new found respect for the way in which the Muslims honor their holy places by washing their feet before entering their sanctuaries.
Seats surrounding the fountain to wash one's feet
before entering the Dome of the Rock

If there is one thing I've learned from living in this city of diverse culture, opinion, and belief, it is the need to respect one another. We can learn from any culture, people, or faith if we have an open mind and a willingness to learn. I'm grateful for the continued understanding that I am gaining through learning more about other's way of life.




  1. Well articulated! Also, do you happen to know when the Muslims closed the Dome to visitors? If I recall, we were allowed to visit inside in 1982, and see the rock from which they claim Muhammad ascended. Thanks for the post! I love your insights and learning. :-) Love you! xoxo

  2. Great stuff, I've been reading every word of these.