THE land where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob dwelt; where Saul, David, and Solomon reigned, where the prophets taught, and our Saviour was born, is called the Holy Land. This most interesting of all countries lies in the western part of Asia, bordering on the Mediterranean, the Great Sea, as it is called in the Bible. It is about seven thousand miles directly east from the coast of Georgia, and in going from Michigan we would have to travel as much as eight thousand miles to reach it. 

We would have to cross the Atlantic Ocean, pass through the Strait of Gibralter, and sail the whole length of the Mediterranean Sea. We would probably land at Joppa, or Jaffa, a small seaport town about thirty-five miles northwest of Jerusalem. 

In going from Jaffa to Jerusalem, we first travel over a beautiful, fertile plain for several miles, and then take our way along a narrow pass, winding among rocky hills and mountains, till at last, coming upon an eminence, the sacred city lies full in view, embosomed among its surrounding hills.  We will not stop now to describe this wonderful city, neither will we try to make our way through its narrow, crooked streets; but as we are coming from the north, will turn to our right, and pass down into the Valley of Gihon, near the upper pool. Following down the valley, we come to the second, or lower, pool, cut partly in the solid rock, and made partly of brick. This pool is 40 feet deep, almost 600 feet long, and nearly half as wide. It used to contain water brought through an aqueduct from a fountain near Bethlehem; but it is now dry. Going on from this pool, we find the valley growing narrower and deeper, till, turning toward the left, we enter that part called the valley of Hinnom. This valley has a remarkable history, which we will some day tell. 

On its left side rises the hill of Zion, or Mount Zion, as it is sometimes called. There David built his grand palace; and near the brow of the mountain his tomb is still shown. On the right side of the valley the rocks rise to a great height, and their steep sides, more or less shaded by olive and pomegranate trees, are completely honeycombed with tombs. Indeed, the dead about Jerusalem are far more numerous than are the living, who now inhabit the city.

Passing on eastward, we soon come to the brook Kedron, which flows down from the north through a deep valley on the east side of the city; but soon it turns to the east, and passing through frightful cuts in the rocks, at last makes its way into the Dead Sea. Near this place is a well, more than a hundred feet deep, and thought to be the En-Rogel where the sons of the priests waited in the time of Absalom's rebellion to bear news to David. Here, too, Adonijah made his feast, when he undertook to take the kingdom.

Since we want to go to Bethlehem, we must turn to the right and climb the hill. Before crossing the ridge, however, we will look back up the valley upon Mt. Moriah, where the beautiful temple once stood. Going on to the south, we travel for a mile or more along a fertile plain, which is shut in on all sides by rocky hilltops and ridges. This was called the valley of Rephaim, which means the valley of giants. Here David had some terrible battles with the Philistines.

About four miles south of Jerusalem, we turn a little to the left from the main road to Hebron. Just here stands a small, square building, with white walls, and a rounded roof called a dome. In the center of the building is a pile of masonry covered with plaster. This is Rachel's tomb, where she has lain ever since Jacob buried her there. Read Genesis 35:16-20; 48:7. A little farther on, and in plain sight, is the rocky ridge on which Bethlehem stands, with its one long street, and its substantial white stone houses shaded by beautiful trees.  In another lesson we will tell about Bethlehem, and some of the remarkable things that have happened there.