Amman, Mount Nebo, Jordan River, Qumran
19.11.2011 - 19.11.2011
After a very early start this morning, we spent an hour driving around the city of Amman, the capital of Jordan. This helped us understand a little more about modern day Jordan, the industries and what they do for leisure. I was surprised to hear of their very high tertiary education rate, even though we saw a lot of children on the streets not going to school and evident poverty.
We then headed to the Byzantine Church of St George to see the Madaba Map. This mosaic map is the earliest surviving map of Israel.
On our way to Israel, we stopped at Mount Nebo. This is the place where Moses saw the promised land before he died (Deut 34:1-6). At first it was very foggy and hard to see any of the view. This was a bit disappointing, because we were told that the view was amazing! After about half an hour though, the fog cleared up and we were able to see the most spectacular view of the promised land. It must have been an amazing sight for Moses to stand on top of this mountain to see what God had promised him and his people. From the top of Mt Nebo, you could see plenty of water, too. An exciting sight to see after being in the desert for so long. Its sad that Moses never even got to step foot in the promised land.
We got back on the bus and crossed through the boarder from Jordan to Israel. This process was a little intimidating, lots of people pushing and shoving in lines. It all seemed very disorganised. I wasn't sure that I trusted the officials taking our passports off us for a period of time! But it all turned out fine.
Once we got through the boarder, we began to head to the site of the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, we made a slight detour and visited the newly opened site of where it is believed Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River. While we were there, we read aloud Mark’s account of the baptism. This was very emotional for me. To be standing in the likely place where Jesus was baptised struck me as something really special. To wade my hand through the water of the Jordan River made it so real. It brought the passage to life. Our tour guide emphasised that this place where Jesus’ public ministry began was just a humble, everyday part of the land. And this is the kind of God we serve. One who came to our land, and get involved in our lives. Praise God! It would’ve been great to spend more time at the river, but we had to press on.
We headed to Khirbet Qumran, on the Northwest shore of the Dead Sea. This is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered between 1947 and 1956. This site is particularly significant to the Bible since it contained the earliest scripts of parts of the Old Testament ever discovered. We were able to look at the rock faces, into the caves, and see how the Scrolls were stored in the caves to be protected.