DAY 11 – TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13: ARRIVE HOME OR START OF JORDAN EXTENSION: MT. NEBO, MACHERUS, PETRA
For those who flew home either last night or this morning, it was a travel day. After flying back to the States either all night or day, we proceeded through U.S. Customs. It was a life changing trip! For those who extended their trip to Jordan and southern Israel, it was another sunny day, with temps in the 70s.
Allenby Bridge Border Crossing
We said goodbye to Jerusalem today as we loaded up our two buses after breakfast. Departing at 7:30, we drove back through the Judean Desert to the Jordan Valley. Here we arrived at the Allenby Bridge crossing where we crossed into Jordan. The border crossing actually went very smoothly. Once making the crossing, we were greeted by Sam and Awad, our two Jordanian guides. Following the usual passport proceedings, we drove a short distance to our first stop.
Bethany Beyond the Jordan
Our first stop was Bethany Beyond the Jordan. This was where Elijah ascended to heaven in a fiery chariot, with Elisha taking over and purifying the water at Jericho across the valley. We read from 2 Kings 2 about this event. According to John 1, this was also where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. Overlooking a few Byzantine ruins, we were privileged to meet the lead Jordanian archaeologist. He shared with us briefly. Down by the river we read from John 1.
“We crossed into Jordan today and we stood on top of Mt. Nebo! This is where Moses viewed the Promised Land. It is also where he died. To stand where Moses may have been was incredible!” -Tour Member-
Returning to our buses, we drove westward and ascended to the top of Mt. Nebo. We read from Deuteronomy 31 and 34, as wells Joshua 1 as we listened to the storiy of Moses’ death here. Joshua would take over and lead His people across to the Promised Land (note: because it was very hazy with poor viability, the pictures posted below are from another trip). Here we also visited the reconstructed Byzantine church, complete with impressive mosaics. Close by we also visited a mosaic shop and store.
From here we drove about 40 minutes to Machaerus. This was yet another palace-fortresses built first by the Hasmonians but later developed by Herod the Great. It looks a lot like Herodium near Bethlehem, but much larger. Before climbing to the top, we read from Matthew 14. John the Baptist was beheaded here. On top we saw the palace area, a deep cistern, and a few ritual baths (miqveh).
Driving to Petra
Returning to the Medeba area, we began our long drive to Petra. Talking the Desert Highway, we made a rest stop about halfway there. Continuing to Wadi Musa, we arrived at our hotel in the Petra area for a late dinner. We are excited to see the site of Petra tomorrow, one of the seven wonders of the world.