Early this morning our bus drove out of Israel and we caught our last glimpse of Jerusalem in the distance.
This place changes you. I’ve heard others say this. I didn’t get it until I came here.
Within 5-10 minutes of driving outside the city, you begin to see this area known as the Judaean Hills.
These photos seriously do not do this area justice. It was incredible. You can see animals and shepherds if you look closely in the photos. And you’ll also notice power lines and reflections in the glass – sorry, these photos are taken on the bus as we drove.
Many of the shepherds and people that live in these lands have huts and tents in their villages – they are called Bedouin villages or camps.
This was absolutely mind blowing.
In Israel there are 250,000 of these Bedouin people. In neighboring Jordan, there are 380,000.
Can you even fathom?
One of our leaders told me that she visited one of the camps and they had a TV in their hut….
The Judaean Hills make up an area between Jerusalem and Jericho. This would have been where David hid from Saul. It is the backdrop of what surrounded King David as he wrote the 23rd Psalm – the paths of righteousness are what some refer to as the crevices between these hills.
This spot is unlike any other area I’ve seen before.
When we got to the bottom of the mountain range, we rode near the edge of Jericho – one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. This place is over 10,000 years old – approximately, of course! ha
It is there in the distance against the mountains. There are no remnants of the walls that fell when they marched around Jericho.
After a very long wait at several security checkpoints, we left Israel and crossed over into Jordan.
Side note: As we waited inside one of the checkpoints, I noticed a group of women wearing the veil – also known as the Hijab.
I was captivated and fascinated by their beauty. Honestly, I’ve seen a lot of women dressed with long dresses and head coverings while we are here in the Middle East. This group was different. They were covered completely only showing their eyes.
All of these photos are taken with me trying to act like I’m not taking photos 🙂
They walked so smoothly and there was a mysterious beauty about the women behind those veils.
Several of my crazy observations:
- So many of the women in this group were the same size and height. The men were traveling with them as well. I chuckled thinking about one of the men walking around trying to find his wife by her eyes!!! I bet there is a lot of confusion in those groups!!
- The more I watched these beautiful ladies, the more I became convinced this is not a bad idea. No makeup, no hair to fix, no outfits to try on or pick out. This could be a good thing. I mean, really – you don’t even have to shave your legs girls!!!
Ok – back to our day.
Our first stop in Jordan was the Dead Sea. 25% of the content is salt.
Those white ridges you see under the water at the edge is salt build up. As you break away the buildup, underneath you find the healing mud of the dead sea. We sure did smear it all over and used the salt and sand to smooth our skin.
And we floated. It was the craziest thing ever!! The minute you pick your feet up, you hit the top of the water. Some people in our group couldn’t get their feet down on their own!!
We only had a little over an hour at our beach stop, but it was a great time to cool off in this hot hot hot weather.
After lunch we stopped at a church where the very first map of the Holy Land was discovered.
Over 1,400 years ago – these people made a map of hand placed mosaic tiles. The church collapsed in a great earthquake in this land. Many years later as they cleaned the remnants, they discovered the tile floor – partially destroyed and realized the significance.
It has been restored in the areas that survived and still remains here inside the church today.
You can see Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Jericho, Egypt, Bethlehem and so much more.
Next we headed up towards Mount Nebo. This is the place God took Moses to show him the overview of the Promised Land.
This specific view below is the area Moses would have seen when he looked in the direction of Jerusalem.
We have a new guide showing us around in Jordan and he knows the Bible! We’re seeing so much from the Old Testament in this land and it makes me want to pick my Bible up and start reading it all again. John is doing an incredible job of bringing all the stories and places together.
As I sit tonight taking it all in, this may be the first time I ever feel like I’m in an enchanting land. It draws you in, it pulls at your heart. It stirs your mind and stills your soul. This land is beyond beautiful. It is the place God provided as the Promised Land.
I want to learn more and see God’s story in a whole new light.
In case you missed it – from the past week on the blog: