Day 4 - Mt. Nebo, Jericho, Qumran

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January 16th 2020
Published: January 17th 2020
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Following a buffet breakfast and checking in luggage (for the bus driver), we boarded the bus for a trip to Mt. Nebo. This is where Moses viewed the promised land since he wasn't permitted to enter. It is believed he died on Mt. Nebo or nearby, though the exact place is not known.

I was warned it would be cooler and windy on Mt. Nebo, but I wasn't prepared for the intensity of the wind. It felt like you were being blown over the hillside as you walked toward the sites. I will post a short video on my Facebook page for you to see just what I mean.

As you walk up the hill there is a large stone like the one place over Jesus' tomb and a statue of Moses to commemorate his life and death. The last days of Moses is described in Deuteronomy (34:1-7). The episode of Balak and Balam (Deuteronomy 2:13-26) also took place here.The mountain is also known as Pisgah. "And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mt. Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho." It is the highest mountain in the Moabite Range. On a clear day you can see the fertile Land of Canaan, Jericho and Jerusalem.

At the very top of the mountain stand a church which is not unusual. Over here they built churches on historical sites. Inside that church are the beautiful Byzantine mosaic floors that were discovered when the former structure was excavated . These mosaics are from stones that have the natural color in therm. There are 12 different colors that are still used today.

Also on top of the mountain is a tall Serpentine Cross. If you remember the Lord send the plague of the snakes when the Israelites were complaining and when Moses prayed he was told to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole. Those who were bitten could look at the bronze snake and be healed.(Numbers 21:4-9). This Serpentine is wrapped around the cross on which Jesus was signify all healing comes from Christ. It is the symbol of healing used by doctors today.

Once we left Mt. Nebo we stopped nearby at a shop that specializes in mosaic work today. It was interesting to watch the artists work on their pieces. Some tiles were so small they had to be put in place with tweezers and cut with fingernail clippers. I would have loved to purchase a picture but they started at $100 for a snapshot size to many thousand dollars for very large pictures.

We boarded the bus again and headed back down the mountain. We had to be at the King Hussein Bridge (between Jordan and Israel) to cross the border and enter Israel. Since we were leaving one country and entering another we had to take all our belongings off the bus and go through border and passport control. We had to have our luggage and bags scanned and answer any question that might be asked of us. This was not the time or place to be a comedian! Some of the questions were: When did you enter the country? What did you do there? Who are you traveling with? Do you have any family traveling with you? and so on. I must say it wasn't a bad experience. Everyone working there was kind, helpful, and easy to get along with. However this did take a big amount of time. Once we passed through to Israel we had to board an Israeli tour bus and get and new tour guide, then we could continue on our journey.

First stop was to Jericho for lunch. Our lunches always consist of local cuisine. Today we were having various salads, pita bread,, humus, Rice with Lamb and chicken, and a drink. We really were on a tie limit as we had to get to Qumran before the park closed. We would be returning to Jericho later that afternoon.

Qumran is the site near the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. A shepherd was tending his flock when one got lost and in his searching discovered a cave. In that cave was jar with the scrolls. This occurred in 1947. Between 1947 and the present time officials have searched and searched to find other scrolls and treasures. There are active excavations going on even today. Included in the Dead Sea Scrolls were fragments from every book of the Hebrew Bible except Ester and the book of Isiah was complete. The actual scrolls are housed at the Jewish Museum in Jerusalem.

Jericho is referred to many times in the Bible. It is where Zacchaeus climbed into the sycamore tree to get a better look at Jesus. You all know the story. There is a tree in the town square that is representative of that tree and story. This is the same Jericho where Rahab, the prostitute, and her family were saved for helping save the spies that were sent by Joshua. It is also the same city where Joshua and his army marched around, sounded the trumpet, and "the walls came tumbling down>" Jericho is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world.

We boarded the bus again for our final destination for the evening - The Olive Tree Hotel in Jerusalem. We have often stayed at this hotel and love it here. There is a shop up around the corner that we visit frequently. It is St. George's Bazaar but more affectionately known as Abraham's. We love to go there. Not only do we get great prices on souvenirs, but Abraham is entertaining and he remembers us every time. We always laugh because his debit/credit card machine never works. I've been on four trips since 2011 and its still the same story. He loves to see us and we look forward to visiting with him.

So this evening has come to a close and its off to bed.. Nite all!

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