We drove to the top of a cliff overlooking the Sea of Galilee. The cliffs reminded me of Yosemite.
Overlooking the Sea of Galilee
In the caves of these rocks, Jews took refuge from the crusaders. Using long poles with hooks, women and children were pulled from the caves to fall to their death.
Basket and Hook Used in Attack Against the Jews
Cliffs and Caves
Top of the World
The view here at Arbel National Park is amazing. It is good place to get yourself oriented to the Sea of Galilee area.
Today is a good day to see how rough this little lake can get. I can see why, in a little boat, Peter would get worried about the storm. I can imagine it can get a lot worse than today.
Our next stop was the ancient city of Bet She’an. It was here that Saul and Jonathan were killed. Saul was beheaded and his body hung upside down on a wall above the city.
I could have spent all day at this impressive dig. There was a lot to see and we only gave ourselves 30 minutes. (Really? 30 minutes? This is a good day visit.)
As we drove south, you could see the high-tech fence to protect Israel from Jordan. Our destination was the traditional baptismal site of Jesus on the Jordan river, but as you can see, it is a well watched area.
We passed through mine fields on the way, and then to a check point with a big sign reading “NO PHOTOS”. We told the guard we were on our way to see the baptismal site, and annoyed looking, he waved us through.
Was This the Spot?
Was this the spot where Jesus was baptized? Probably not. Rivers meander (change course) over time. It may have been close, but the fact of the matter is, he was baptized by John the Baptist in the River Jordan, by immersion, to fulfill all righteousness. (Matthew 3:15)
Jordan River is Muddy and Cold
Remember when we used to sing the song in school, “Jordan River is muddy and cold?” Well, it is muddy and I put my hand in there and it is cold. It is amazing that crystal clear water up near Caesarea Philippi could become so muddy in a few miles. I think there is an object lesson there too.
Diane Poses Where You Can See Jordanian Guards
Diane asked if I’d talk her photo so that people could see the soldiers on the Jordanian side. There were soldiers on both sides. Seems silly that a sacred place like this would require M16s and soldiers, AND that we’d pass through mine fields to get to it.
What’s even more silly is the gift shop selling bikinis. You heard me. In a country where women cover their bodies completely, they sell bikinis at the baptismal site of Jesus.
I think I’ve seen it all now.
Continuing on our journey…
Diane asked if we’d stop so she could ride a camel and if I’d photograph it for her grandchildren. Wait. It’s Monday. It’s not Hump Day. Oh, but we did it anyway.
Doug and Diane Pose with Camel
Camels are strange animals. I have no desire to ride one. (But, I do like the GEICO commercial.)
We returned to Jerusalem and to the Abraham Hostel. I went with Elizabeth and Kelly to find a place to eat. Again… shawarma is about all you can find. But, this place did serve fresh mint steeped in hot water. It was quite good.
The shawarma was good too, but I’m getting a little tired of them. They are the fast-food of Israel.
The ladies found a scarf shop and the sales guy, Ahymen (he pronounced it Amen), was quite a character. He was minding the shop for his dad, but usually teaches high school chemistry. he insisted on demonstrating on the ladies the different ways they can wear a scarf.
Elizabeth Demonstrating How to Wear a Scarf
He also showed us in the back of the store a very deep well that’s a couple thousand years old. I bought a keffeyah for Elizabethe. Now we’ll both have them.
I asked Ahymen about the colors of the Keffeyahs. He said my black and tan was “fasionable”, as was the one I bought for Elizabethe. The white with red are Jordanian. The white with black are Palestinian. Plain white Egyptian, and so forth.
A Very Old and Deep Well
While riding the trolley back to our hostel, I saw this guy outside. He was happy and singing. He waved to me when he saw that I took his photo.
Speaking of singing, it is not uncommon to hear people walking down the street singing. It is also quite common to see people holding hands, especially families.