Baptisms, Mosaics, and other biblical places!

Trip Start Dec 23, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Black Iris Hotel

Flag of Jordan  , Balqa,
Monday, November 23, 2009

Finishing off the highlights of northern Jordan, Mohammed, Loay and myself rented a car to look around the Dead Sea area, which includes some interesting biblical sites.  First we began at Bethany, where the Jordan River separates Jordan from Palestine.  This is also the place where John the Baptist resided and is believed to be the spot where he baptised Jesus Christ 2000 years ago.  No idea if it was the actual site, but quite interesting to dip my toes into the waters at the same spot where they believe Jesus to have been baptised!

Afterwards, we traveled down the long coast of the Dead Sea, stopping at Wadi Mujib, the lowest nature reserve in the world.  Though it was closed for the season, we did get to peek into the area and it seemed quite a respite from the surrounding desert, with its flowing river, colorful rocks, and dense vegetation.  It provided a stark contrast to the dry desert and must've been an amazing oasis for those crossing the vast desert long ago.

Continuing on, we stopped near the Dead Sea for a view point when Mohommaed points out a tall rock formation on the mountain above us.  He tells me this is Lot's Wife.  The story from the Book of Genesis is that Lot was the nephew of Abraham and was warned about the impending destruction of the hedonistic Sodom and Gomorrah.  As the angles led Lot and his family away from the biblical doom, they were told to not look back at the destruction.  His wife ignored these instructions and was immediately turned into a pillar of salt.  Though Christians and Jews do not believe that Lot was a prophet, Muslims do and, therefore, Lot is obviously highly respected and the location of the rock and his cave are very important sites in the Middle East.

To end the day, the fellas dropped me off in the town of Madaba.  Madaba has a small population of Christians (Catholics and Greek Orthodox) and has the St. George church, also known as the Map of the Mosaic church.  Here are kept many Byzantine and Umayyad mosaics of religious people and events, as well as a large tiled mosaic map of biblical Palestine covering a portion of the floor.  So, I strolled the city, visited the local mosque, and navigated the tourists at St. George church to end an interesting and educational day!

Traveler Tip:  I stayed only one night at the Black Iris hotel, but the owners were incredibly helpful and friendly.  I can definitely recommend it and they have rooms ranging from 9-22 dinars for single accommodation.

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