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The Garden of Gethsemane

Gethsemane, in Hebrew, means “oil press.”  In Jesus’ time, this garden was about 1,200 sq. ft. in area.  According to the New Covenant, Jesus always came here to pray.  Also, Jesus was captured at this garden before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:36).  It is possible that Jesus knew the owner of this garden, who allowed him to come for prayer and meditation.

Matthew 26:36-42 Jesus Prays in Gethsemane 36 Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”  37  He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and agitated.  38  Then he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and stay awake with me.”  39  And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what you want.”  40  Then he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not stay awake with me one hour?  41Stay awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  42  Again he went away for the second time and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.”

Thousand years Old tree

Olive trees can live to be about 2,000 or even 3,000 years old.  However, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, Roman soldiers chopped off all of the olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane during the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  Therefore, the present olive trees are not from Jesus’ time.    

Thousand Years of root

Although the present olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane are not the actual trees that grew there in Jesus’ time, a young-looking tree may in fact have ancient roots.   According to Reuters, on 10/19/2012, five Italian universities’ carbon dating studies showed that samples taken from the olive trees at the Garden of Gethsemane were dated to at least 900 years old.  Analysis of all eight olive trees’ DNAs found they were planted from the same parent plant; this could show a deliberate attempt to preserve a particular lineage for future generations.

A meditation

The iron gate surrounds the olive trees for protection.  Tourists can still walk around the garden.  It is supposed to be a good place for meditation; however, the most tumultuous times are in the day time when the tourists are coming in and out.  The best meditation time is in the early morning or late afternoon when there are not many tourists present. 

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