The Promise

Wadi Musa and Madaba, Jordan

October 8 – 9, 2019

Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan, all of Naphtali, the territory of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Mediterranean Sea, the Negev and the whole region from the Valley of Jericho, the City of Palms, as far as Zoar. Then the Lord said to him, “This is the land I promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob when I said, ‘I will give it to your descendants.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you will not cross over into it.”

Deuteronomy 34:1-4

Almost but not quite. The Promised Land was within sight, yet God barred Moses from finally leading the Israelites into it after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. At the final approach to the finish line, he was taken off the race. I could only imagine how the finality of God’s punishment must have weighed heavily on Moses, elderly by then, as I surveyed the panorama of the Holy Land atop Mount Nebo.

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TTT @ Mount Nebo
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Petra-fied

Wadi Musa, Ma’an Governorate, Jordan

October 9, 2019

At first I was amazed, I was Petra-fied. The ancient city carved out of rose-red sandstone was both a marvel of nature and architecture. A deep and winding fissure that cut through the rocky desert landscape was awesome in itself. That it led to the cliff-sculpted classical façade of an ancient tomb put the wonder in wonderful. Petra had been voted – rightfully so – as one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

Who will bring me to the fortified city?

    Who will lead me to Edom?

Psalms 108:10
TTT @ Bab as-Siq (Outer Siq) and Obelisk Tomb, Petra
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Lake of Brimstone

Sweimeh, Jordan

October 10 – 11, 2019

My Holy Land Pilgrimage ended at a low point. Literally, the lowest point on land – the shores of the Dead Sea. This stretch of the Great Rift Valley had sunk lower than sea level by more than 400 meters. Water from the Jordan River could find no way out of this catch basin save for evaporation, leaving behind tons of mineral runoff, primarily sodium, from the surrounding desert. That was how this hypersaline lake, ten times saltier than the ocean, could keep bathers buoyant on their backs – “funny bath,” as Mark Twain giddily put it 150 years ago.

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Mark Twain’s Funny Bath @ Holiday Inn Beach, the Dead Sea, Sweimeh, Jordan
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