Desert of Jordan – Lessons Learned, Beauty Found

Golden Landscape of Jordan

The boundless golden landscape of Jordan is a unique thing of beauty yet at the same time the endless emptiness can lead one to a feeling of abandonment, and emptiness.  The vastness seems infinite but in reality Jordan is eight times smaller than the state Texas.  This is the land where the Israelites wandered for forty years due to their disobedience and lack of faith. As we drive along the barren beauty I think of what good came from such a long journey. A journey leading from slavery to freedom. At each site I visited reality and understand entered my mind and heart, here I began to grasp the journey through life and the desire God has for me.

View of the Promise Land from Mount Nebo

A visual reality opens my heart to a clearer understanding that even thorough pain and suffering God is by our side. As we search for our own “promise land” we must have faith that God has a plan to guide us, to help us, to be there for us.  Though our faith and trust He will lead us through our wilderness, our temptations. Leading us to the new promised land, the New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God. 

View from Chapel – Mount Nebo

A short drive from our five star hotel on the Dead Sea we arrive at Mount Nebo.  The view shifts from rolling golden mountains and valleys to a glorious view overlooking the Promised Land. Here Moses was given a glimpse of the Land of Milk and Honey, the land he was forbidden to enter.  I’ve always understood the milk and honey to refer to goodness, to a fertile land, thinking the honey referred to the bees pollenating, fertilizing the land.  According to our guide honey refers to the nectar from dates not bees. I guess this is an example of the old two sides to a coin theory… I’ll leave it up to you to determine if the honey referred to in the Bible is from bees or dates.

Pristine 531 Byzantine Mosaic

Within the Franciscan compound is a modern church that also incorpulates portions of a Byzantine basilica that was uncovered in the nineteen thirties. Beautifully preserved ancient mosaic floors are open for visitors to view.  One of the mosaic has been dated to August 531 due a Greek inscription that includes the names of three workers who created it and the name Elias who was bishop at that time.  The pristine condition of the mosaic is owed to a second mosaic being laid on top of it within a few decades. The older mosaic was uncovered in 1976 when the top one was removed for restoration.

Newer Mosaic that was removed for renovation

One of my fellow pilgrims told me a story of the peacock which I had never heard before. In ancient times christians adopted the symbol of the Peacock as it was believed the flesh would not decay, it represented immortality. It is also associated with the resurrection of Christ because it sheds it old feathers every year and grows, newer, brighter ones each year. If the peacock is portrayed drinking from a vase it symbolizes a christian drinking the waters of eternal life. In addition the ” multitude of eyes” upon its bright fan suggested the all seeing eye of God.

Peacock on the newer mosaic

I am truly blessed. THANK YOU LORD

Deuteronomy 34: 1-8 Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho, and the Lord showed him the whole land: Gilead as far as Dan, 2 all Naphtali, the land of Ephraim and Manasseh, all the land of Judah as far as the Western Sea, 3 the Negeb, and the Plain—that is, the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees—as far as Zoar. 4 The Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, ‘I will give it to your descendants’; I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not cross over there.” 5 Then Moses, the servant of the Lord, died there in the land of Moab, at the Lord’s command. 6 He was buried in a valley in the land of Moab, opposite Beth-peor, but no one knows his burial place to this day. 7 Moses was one hundred twenty years old when he died; his sight was unimpaired and his vigor had not abated. 8 The Israelites wept for Moses in the plains of Moab thirty days; then the period of mourning for Moses was ended.

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