Holy Land Day 4: Jordan River, Jericho, Mount of Temptation, Qumran, Jerusalem

The day started departing Tiberias at the Sea of Galilee shortly after sunrise as we made our way along the Jordan River to the site thought to be very close to the Baptismal Site of Jesus Christ. Many pilgrims among our group commemorated their baptisms in the Jordan.

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From there we stopped in Jericho for some camel riding before we took the cable cars up to the Mount of Temptation where we toured the Greek Orthodox Monastery impressively built into the cliffs of the mountain.

Afterwards, we were treated to views of the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by Bedouin shepherds in 1946. We learned that the texts are of great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew Bible canon. The group then enjoyed a dip in the Dead Sea to experience the extreme buoyancy and rejuvenating properties of the Dead Sea minerals.

From there we were not far from Jerusalem so we drove on into the city to get settled at our hotel. After a much-needed break, we walked into the old city at Jaffa Gate to visit the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. We witnessed the centuries-old nightly ritual of the locking and handing over of the doors of the Sepulcher. Since the 1400s a Muslim family has been entrusted with the safekeeping of the key and the responsibilities of locking and unlocking of the door each morning and evening. This allows for keeping the neutral status of the site between Christian denominations. We then enjoyed pizza and wine at Jacob’s Pizza.

We then walked through the dark walkways across the city to the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter. Quite a day!

Jordan River, Mount of Temptation, Qumran, Dead Sea, Jerusalem Old City

The day started with sunrise over the Sea of Galilee as we made our way along the Jordan River to the Baptismal Site of Jesus Christ. From there we stopped in Jericho for some camel riding before we took the cable cars up to the Mount of Temptation where we toured the Greek Orthodox Monastery built into the cliffs of the mountain. Afterward we were treated to views of the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The group then enjoyed a dip in the Dead Sea to experience the extreme buoyancy and rejuvenating properties of the Dead Sea minerals. From there we were not far from Jerusalem so we drove on in to the city to get settled at our hotel. After a much needed break we walked into the old city at Jaffa Gate and enjoyed pizza and wine at Jacob’s Pizza before heading to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. After that we walked through the dark walkways across the city to the Western Wall. Quite a day!

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Ecclesia with Breaking Bread Journeys: Jordan River, Mt. of Temptation, Qumran Caves, Dead Sea, Jerusalem by Night

On day 5 of our journey we covered a lot of ground. We started our day at a baptismal site believed to be the closest to where Jesus was baptized. It’s a beautiful area with nothing else around it except for what’s across the river on the Jordanian side, you’ll see a couple of orthodox churches.

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From there we went on to Jericho for some camel rides and a trip up to the Mount of Temptation on the cable cars. The views from the mount’s sheer cliff dropoff are breathtaking.

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Next up was the Qumran caves, where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered.

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Next we heard from a representative of a local water conservationist NGO (EcoPeace Middle East) who showed us how far water levels were dropping. She took us to a previous resort that is now closed and abandoned because it is no longer at the shoreline of the Dead Sea.

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After that we visited Kalia Beach on the Dead Sea where we experienced the peculiar sensation of extreme buoyancy and the rejuvenating effects of the mineral-rich Dead Sea mud.

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We packed up and then made our way to Jerusalem. We enjoyed wine and pizza in the old city at Pastor Chris’ favorite spot, Jacob’s Pizza. Then we were able to make it to the Holy Sepulcher before closing time. We entered the old city through the Jaffa Gate…

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Afterward we saw the generations-old tradition of the locking of the doors of the Holy Sepulcher, something I personally had never witnessed in any of my five visits here.

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We walked onward through the Muslim Quarter to the Western Wall in the Jewish Quarter. Pastor Chris was invited by some orthodox Jews to dance with them as they sang songs at the wall. Quite a night!

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Ecclesia with Breaking Bread Journeys: Jericho, Mount of Temptation, Qumran, Jerusalem

I’m shooting for Ecclesia Houston on our tour with Breaking Bread Journeys. Today’s expedition took us to the ruins of the world’s oldest city, Jericho, where we saw excavations of its ancient walls and towers. We then rode the cable cars up to Qarantal to wander the narrow passages of the Greek Orthodox monastery nestled in the mountain’s cliffs. Pastor Chris Seay read to the group Luke’s account of Jesus’ temptation on the mountain where we stood. Next we learned more about the Dead Sea Scrolls at the location of their discovery in Qumran and walked through the archaeological site where evidence of the Jewish Essene community is presented. The afternoon brought us to Jerusalem where we took a walk into the Old City through the New Gate just after sunset. While in the Old City we had a chance to wander in the labyrinthine Church of the Holy Sepulcher. To conclude the evening’s itinerary we made our way southeast across the winding alleyways of the Old City to the Jewish Quarter. There we came upon the Western Wall, the only surviving part of Solomon’s Temple. High winds that stirred up dust and sand made for interesting atmospheric conditions throughout the day.

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