Jerusalem, By Kelly Granite Enck
On the 17th of July 2007 I arrived in Tel Aviv all alone with the mission to uncover the truth about Jesus. I hurried out of the airport with a large backpack pulling me down and found an English-speaking driver in a white van to take me into the Old City, known as Jerusalem, which was twenty minutes away! In Hebrew the word Jerusalem means, “Abode in Peace” and in Arabic it means the “Holy Sanctuary.”
The driver dropped me off at the entrance of one of the seven gates that opens into the large walls surrounding the old city of Jerusalem, called Jaffa gate! I asked for directions to Jesus' tomb! I was told it’s called, “Church of the Holy Sepulchre.” A shop keeper gave me street names like “David” and told me to turn right and left and right and left…it made me dizzy, so I thought I would just ask people if I were heading in the right direction and go! I imagined Jesus, the apostles, Mary and the crowds having walked my same steps! I looked down at the history beneath my feet. The stones where cut in large squares, they had rounded corners. They were smooth and polished from steps of others who had walked before me. ‘Wow! over 2,000 years-ago Jesus was stepping on these same stones' I thought.
I entered the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and in the center was Jesus' tomb! Mass was being held in the tiny space of 3 by 8 feet and about 5 feet high, in a language unknown to me. I squeezed my way in to soak up Jesus, whatever that means. I was there to learn more, feeling confused about the crucifixion to forgive our sins. I did not believe that Jesus' crucifixion was the only means to heal the separation from God. I needed to understand more!
I followed hard after God wanting to be filled by him, in whatever way would work! I was thirsty for God my entire life, unsure of my path to him. I was a witness to God "everywhere" outside me, but had not felt him living within me. I was here for answers.
The temperature in Israel was over 105 degrees F and I was in big hot combat boots and sweaters to cover my skin in respect. I fainted in the tomb, and to my surprise when I came to a Muslim man named Abraham was taking care of me. He had placed me on a wooden bench just outside the church and was standing over me with cups of water, an egg and loaf of bread. I looked up and smiled at him. I thought it was profound that a Muslim was saving me in Christ's Church. It was the first sign that God was teaching me about non-dualistic love. I knew Jesus taught unconditional love and his miracles were always for anyone who asked. By Great Luck! Abraham ended up having the title of “VIP tour guide of the Holy Sepulchre Church.” Abraham shared the history of the Holiest Christian Site in the World, Mt. Calvary and St. Helena's Church, which is the Church that Emperor Constantine built when he converted to Christianity. At this time only 10 percent of the population was Christian, but during his rein 50 percent of the Roman Empire converted! This ended three hundred years of Romans killing Christians, due to the poly-god movement. A Pagan worship site had been placed on the Holy location of Jesus’ crucifixion!
Abraham told me that Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in 312 AD and when he did this, he sent his mother St. Helena to find the true cross, the one Jesus was crucified on. She did this by leading an excavation of the site until she found several crosses and placed a dying man on them, the one in which he instantly became well one was the true cross that Jesus hung from.
The mountain of Calvary is inside the church and under the crucifixion location you can see where the rock cracked open after the earthquake shook when the Roman soldier stabbed Jesus to see if he was dead on the cross. The crack is still there. You can put your hand inside the crack and touch it. I did! It is written in history that when the Roman soldier saw this he knew that God was present and fell to his knees and instantly converted. St. Helen built a church over the holy site.
Her original Church was destroyed several times in wars. The Franciscan friars built a new Church over Helena's Sepulcher Church in 1555, keeping the original name 'The Holy Sepulcher.' The original remains of the Helena's church are kept under lock and key!
Abraham the VIP guide that was saving me from dehydration, said, "In an hour after you rest I will come back with a key and take you into St. Helena’s Original Church that was buried under the current Church of The Holy Sepulchre. He told me it’s only for the VIP guests of the Holy Land, because it’s dangerous to enter, and it is deteriorating with age. Abraham said, "inside the ruins is St. Helena’s water well, if you touch the water you are lucky!" I could not wait!!!
Abraham returned with a Priest holding a large old key. I gave the Priest a donation and he opened a huge wooden door. Abraham said right before we entered, "this is a very special tour you are receiving" and he smile. "The last time I gave this tour was for President Clinton and Hillary upon their visit. Hillary even cried inside." I was smiling unable to speak!
Abraham said, “Why don't you walk down the stairs and touch the Holy Water!” I walked carefully down the crumbling steps to protect them. I reached the bottom where the well stood. I felt a powerful energy resonating from the ancient well as I ran my fingers through the cool water. I wanted to please God, knowing this was his gift to me for coming to the Holy Land to see the history of his son Jesus.
I found out later that by being allowed to “touch the water in St. Helena’s original well, I had shared a custom of the “Knights, "Knights of the Holy Sepulcher!" Knighted by the Holy Water in the Sepulchre a tradition given to the Christian Kingdom, which after they were given this, they retired to a life of prayer and contemplation at the Tomb of Our Lord. “Five major orders were formed in the Holy Land between the late 11th century and the early 12th century: the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre (circa 1099), Knights Templar (circa 1118), Knights Hospitaller (circa 1099) (St John), Knights of the Hospital of St Mary of Jerusalem (Teutonic Knights) and Knights of St Lazarus.” My memoir "From Hollywood to God" is now on Amazon and Kindle books! Below is a peek into my adventure...
1. Coüasnon, Charles,The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. London: Oxford University Press for the British Academy.1974
2. Dan Bahat, "Does the Holy Sepulchre church mark the burial of Jesus?"Biblical Archaeology Review 12 (1986)
3. "Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem - Index, History". http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/oessh/en/subindex_en.html. Retrieved 2011-04-17.
4. Shusaku Endo, A Life of Jesus. Paulist Press, New York, NY, 1999
5. Rich Christiano Film, http://www.sperrymovie.com/, Internet retrieved on 4/17/2011