Francis and Barbara share daily from Israel and Jordan, the trip agenda below can be viewed or downloaded.
We had a straight-forward trip to Amman, Jordan via Rome. Arriving at 3:00 a.m. we decided a room for the remainder of the morning was worth the high room rate.
Day One was about joining up with the other 44 members of the tour group followed by a midday and afternoon visit to Jaresh. This was one of the 10 towns of the Decapolis, so known to Jesus and one of the best, if not the best, surviving example of a Greco-Roman town.
The photos below will given an impression.
What struck me was the scale of the town and how intensively that was realised in stone. The Romans especially knew how to build and get the job done quickly. What the photos may not indicate is that the temperature was in the high 30s and very dry as we walked the the paved Roman roads of the town.
After the contextual ‘warm-up’ in Jaresh of the Decapolis, day two featured the ‘Baptismal Site’ near the Jordan river and Mount Nebo from where Moses saw the Promised Land, before dying there to be buried in secret. Temperatures came down to around 30 with gentle warm winds.
The site attested as the place of Jesus’ baptism was when the Jordan was in flood. That rarely happens now but the site is long attested and well known. This is around 400 meters below sea level!
The steps were where pilgrims in ancient times came to enter the waters that once still came here.
We walked a way further to where the Jordan flowed today and, yes, washed our dusty feet in the Jordan River!
A few meters away across the river is Israeli territory where a group of Indian Christians were with their priest in a more structured riverbank setting.
Then from the Jordan river the bus climbed 1,100 meters to Mount Nebo at about 700 meters above sea level!
Since 1932 Franciscans have been digging there and have cared for the site. From Mount Nebo the Dead sea is clearly visible as is Jericho, but we did not see much of the land of promise as it was very hazy due to evaporation from the Dead Sea. Moses may have had a better view?
Finally the drive down to near Petra and our hotel for the night. The phone will ring at 5:30 a.m. tomorrow for the walk through Petra.
More to come!