Neither on this Mountain

This is the beautiful Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. While visiting, a guard, anticipating a bribe, discreetly offered me a tour during its time of closure. Rightly or wrongly, I declined. The mosque is almost certainly built upon the approximate site of Solomon’s temple, and was once the headquarters of the Knights Templar. It was repeatedly destroyed or damaged by earthquakes and has therefore been rebuilt several times. It is the source of tension between Palestinian and Israeli, Muslim and Jew, regarding the site’s management. Surah 17:1 in the Qur’an claims that Allah took Muhammad from Mecca in Saudi Arabia to the Al Aqsa Mosque one night: "Exalted is he who took his servant by night from al-Masjid al-Haram to al-Masjid al-Aqsa...".

We know for certain than the mosque was not constructed in Muhammad’s lifetime, so the claim may have been made by later rulers to legitimise their capture and holding of Jerusalem. I have in mind these words of Christ in John chapter 4:21ff 

Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Religions will squabble and kill over the ownership of sacred sites and their administration. We Christians need not be concerned with this shrine or that, for our joy is Christ Himself, who joins every gathering of believers the world over. More important than the custody of ancient buildings is whether Christ owns your heart and has taken up residence therein. 

The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When He comes, He will tell us all things.”

Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”