As we ascend towards sunset the slopes of Olivet, and pause to gaze on the scenes beneath, the panorama of the city presented to view is in its leading features essentially similar to that upon which the eyes of Jesus rested, when “at night he went out, and abode in the mount that is called the Mount of Olives” Yonder stands a temple within that sacred enclosure which, for well-nigh three thousand years, save for the period during which, “the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet stood in the Holy place,” has been dedicated to the worship of Jehovah. The citadel of Jerusalem breaks the skyline where stood the tower of Hippicus, and to the left, against the setting sun, the cypresses in a monastery garden mark the spot once covered by the gardens of the palace of Herod. Siloam stands as of old on the hither side, overlooking the valleys of Hinnom and Kidron; while to-day, as in former times, the olive yards beneath and the trees around, might well give the name which it bears to the hill on which we stand.
Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him. Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God. He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.—St. John xiii: 1-10.
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NOTE BY THE ARTIST
A dwelling house, claiming to be one of the most ancient in Jerusalem, supplied materials for the study of the “large upper room,” represented in this and some other of the paintings. The general features of the chamber, with its arched ceiling and flattened dome, its leewans (raised platform) and the entrance-passage of colored stones, where guests leave their foot-gear before stepping upon the mat-covered floor of the room, may, for the reasons adduced elsewhere, be accepted as typical of similar apartments of the period under consideration.