We visited Lazarus’ tomb yesterday; It’s only a short distance from where we are staying in Bethany, but the Israeli security wall prevents us from going directly there, we had to take a taxi and travel to the check point and approach it from the east. Not too many pilgrims go there now, unfortunately. It’s an important sign in John’s gospel, pointing to the power of Jesus to give life to the dead.
The Franciscan church adjacent to the shrine is beautiful. Ruins of the ancient Byzantine church lie next to it. Martha and Mary, Lazarus their brother, are all remembered pictorially in the new church.
The ancient tomb, is unadorned. Nothing but stark rock formations that have been there from the beginning. You climb down about 10 feet and there is the entrance where the stone was placed.
We read the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from John’s gospel, a powerful testimony to the divine power of Jesus, but also to his tender humanity. He weeps at the tomb.
We remembered our own loved ones who have died and we joined Martha in her cry of faith. “I believe, Lord, that you have the words of eternal life.” Finally, we sang “Holy, Holy.Holy…”