I have a new website! You will be redirected to my brand new blog. Cory Nickols: September 12 | Day 4 in Jordan

Monday, September 12, 2011

September 12 | Day 4 in Jordan


Today was an amazing day. First we drove about an hour away from Amman to the Jordan River to the place called Bethany beyond the Jordan. This river separates Jordan from the West Bank, a territory occupied by Israel. We went to the location where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and saw many different churches either built or under construction by various denominations surrounding this significant place, including the largest Catholic Church in the Middle East...it was currently under construction. This was such a cool experience to see where Jesus was baptized and where John the Baptist lived and had his ministry. John is reference in the Bible in Matthew 11:7-14:

“As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: “‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you. ’Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven has been subjected to violence, and violent people have been raiding it. For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied until John. And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

I actually saw the dry barren desert and the lush vegetation on the edge of Jordan River in sharp contrast to each other…including reeds swaying in the wind referenced by Jesus. John was referenced in this passage by Jesus as the Elijah to come and it was interesting that both John the Baptist and Elijah had ministries in the same area. Not far from the Baptism site, meaning less than a mile, scholars and archeologists think Elijah was caught up to Heaven on a Chariot of Fire. They called this place Elijah’s Hill. Both prophets had similarities in what God commissioned them to do on earth and the location in which they ministered! The scriptures come to life so much more now because I can visualize so many of the places referenced in the Bible. The tour guide said that lions even ran wild in Jordan up until about 300 years ago. I didn’t know that! But the Bible said that King David killed a bear and a lion with his bare hands. So much history, facts and Biblical significance in this beautiful country!


Cory touching the water at the Jordan River


Rich vegetation at Elijah's Hill near the Jordan River


Largest Catholic Church in the Middle East under construction at Bethany beyond the Jordan


Elijah's Hill where Elijah was caught up to Heaven

From the Bethany beyond the Jordan, we went to the city of Madaba and had lunch at Haret Jdoudna. This city was known for having a large Christian population and still does to this day. After lunch, we toured St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church and saw a mosaic showing a map of the Holy Lands from the 6th Century A.D. It was magnificent. It took over 2 million tiles to create it.


Lunch at Haret Jdoudna...very good Jordanian food!


St. George's Greek Orthodox Church


6th Century Mosaic of Holy Lands


Inside the Church

The next stop on our tour was Mount Nebo. This mountain top was the place where most scholar’s believe Moses overlooked the Promise Land of Israel, but could not enter. The Bible says Moses climbed to the top of this mountain and died and his body was buried in an undisclosed location. At the top of this mountain I could see the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley and over into Israel. The views were so majestic…one could literally see for miles and miles. At the top of Mount Nebo there is a monument, a museum and a monastery for monks who oversee the site.


On the way up to Mount Nebo, we encountered camels crossing the road


From Mount Nebo overlooking the Promise Land


Mount Nebo


Memorial Stone at Mount Nebo


Evangelical Pastor from India visiting Mount Nebo (Cory knows no stranger, just a friend he hasn't met yet!!!)

After a long day of seeing many significant Biblical sites, our group went to an amazing hotel near the Dead Sea called Ma’in Hotel. This hotel is at the base of natural hot springs in a canyon. The water temperature is about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and gets incorporated into the pool at the hotel. Words cannot describe, no pictures do justice for the beauty of this place. We ate dinner outside on the patio overlooking the water fall and once the sunset, I could see the lights of Jerusalem off in the distance.


Ma'in Hotel overlooking landscape from balcony


Hot Springs falling into the pool


View from hotel toward Jerusalem

video


I truly feel so blessed and honored to be on this trip and wish each of you could be here with me. Maybe I need to lead a tour of the Holy Lands with all of you! Now that would be very cool!

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