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Posts Tagged ‘Petra’

Today I learned that the Bible was even truer than I thought it was!

We spent two nights in Amman, Jordan among the children of Ben-Ammi, the son of Lot and “the father of the Ammonites of today” (Genesis 19:38). Our friend and sister from Germany Veronika (who often comments on this blog!) but who has lived in Jordan for 17 years had arranged for us to meet with three leaders of a local church in Amman to talk about LST.  Jordan is a country with religious freedom, but just by virtue of being such a small minority, Christians in Amman have to be bold and creative. These men are involved mostly in training Jordanians to plant and lead churches. Perhaps they will invite LST and someday you can come here and join them in their boldness!

Open your Bible to Deuteronomy 34 and read the first eight verses about the death of Moses.  It’s not an unfamiliar passage to me, but visiting Mount Nebo opened my eyes to how true it is. I had read the words “There the Lord showed him the whole land—from Gilead to Dan . . . “ and I had always understood it to be either just metaphorically looking over the Jordan and seeing that part of the promised land you can see which would represent the whole land—or sometimes I even considered the possibility that Moses saw everything miraculously with the eyes of God!

Never did I think you could see the whole land from Nebo—but you can!  With the wind whipping around the mountain top, we hung on to the railing that Moses did not have and looked across the Jordan valley. On our left we saw the Dead Sea. On our right we saw the Sea of Galilee. The maps in my Bible never prepared me for that sight!

Everything is downhill toward the Dead Sea! We spent a couple of hours at Petra, the city of the Nabateans built into the red rocky gorges left by ancient winds and waters. After several days of awesome moments with sites of Jesus and Moses, it was a little disconcerting to go into such a pagan past, but our very last stop in Petra was a pagan temple that had been converted into a rock church in later centuries.

We sang Amazing Grace and listened to the words and music reverberate against the stones that had heard and seen so much for centuries. If those stones survive for thousands more years, I pray they will release the words of amazing grace over and over again to those who will hear!

Sherrylee talked us into riding camels back to the entrance of Petra. I know Rebekah rode a camel from her home to meet Isaac for the first time. I hope she was a better rider than we or she probably was in no shape to be very impressive when she dismounted. I’m quite sure that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all of us!

To cross between Jordan and Israel is no easy feat in today’s world. Joshua needed a small miracle and so do many people today! We paid extra for what they call VIP service at the border—slightly embarrassing, but it certainly eased the waiting in line and the hassle.

Being VIPs gave us a little extra time to add Qumran to our trip, where we looked into the very caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered. Sherrylee was the one who pointed out the incongruity of having lunch in the very place where Jesus fasted for forty days.

Before we even caught our breath, our van drove past Jericho and went up to Jerusalem, passing the Inn of the Good Samaritan. I hope we didn’t miss anyone on the side of the road.

We finished this marvelous day in Bethlehem–not a city of peace any more, I’m afraid. We dutifully went to the Church of the Nativity, where hundreds were standing in line to see the traditional site of Jesus’ birth. It’s just a silver star on the floor far below ground level today. Joseph and Mary would not have recognized it. But they wouldn’t have wanted to wait in the long lines to check it out anyway!

Next year—no, tomorrow in Jerusalem! Our last day in Israel and another opportunity to meet with Christians here to see if LST can be of any help.

P.S. I plan to post a few pictures soon! The ones of Sherrylee and me on camels may or may not be included!

 

 

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