DAY 12: FRIDAY, JULY 19
We depart this morning from our hotel in Jerusalem on our way to the Allenby border crossing into Jordan at 7:30. We proceeded to the border without a problem and without much of a line at all. After passport departure on the Israeli side, we loaded our Jordanian bus and headed to meet “Mo,” our Jordanian guide. After getting our Jordanian visa stamped in our passports, we headed to the site called Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Here we walked through the tamarisk trees to the Byzantine archaeological ruins that suggest that this was the area where Jesus was baptized (John 1 mentions this location). We walked down to the Jordan River, with the Israeli side just 25 feet on the other side of the river. In this area, we also read from 2 Kings 2 about Elijah ascent to heaven in a chariot.
Our next stop was Mt. Nebo. Located high above the Jordan Valley below, our small bus climbed to the top for us. Here we recalled the story of Moses and Joshua. We read of Moses’ death here (Dt. 34) and the crossing of the Jordan under Joshua’s leadership (Joshua 1). Although hazy, we could see the northern end of the Dead Sea as well as the Jericho area directly west. We boarded the bus and visited a mosaic shop. It is quite amazing to learn and see how much time and effort goes into making a mosaic.
Nearby is Medeba. We learned about and saw the famous Medeba Map that dates to the 6th century AD. This ancient map served as the floor of the St. George’s church today, offering a map of the region. This mosaic map also depicts Jerusalem, with the Cardo, the Damascus Gate, and the Holy Sepulcher Church among other structures being easily identifiable.
We re-boarded our bus and head south on the Desert Highway, on our way to Petra. We stopped in Karak for a rest stop before arriving in Wadi Musa, the 45,000 community located just outside the entrance into the archaeological site of Petra. We enjoyed dinner together, with some of us briefly walking around the some of the streets around the hotel. We retired early in preparation for a full day in Petra tomorrow. Lots of walking awaits us, but we’re excited to see this seven wonders of the world site here in the heart of the Seir Mountains, the land of the Edomites.