Virtual Pilgrimage Day 4: Come to the Water!
We started our day today with a visit to
a strategically important location on the Jordan River with an Egyptian, Greek, and Roman History.
Beit She'an was settled as early as the Chalcolithic era - about 6000 years ago. Extensive excavation of a large hill in Beit She'an has revealed over 20 layers of remains from ancient civilizations!
Our next stop was
Qasr El Yahud
, also know as Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Qasr el Yahud, is on the
, just before it meets the Dead Sea, and is an important place for both the Jewish and Christian faiths.
We celebrated Mass outside under one of several porticos. There were worship services going on simultaneously in different languages in close proximity to one another. We also renewed our baptismal promises - it was a pretty powerful to renew our baptismal promises here!
As we all walked down to the river and
stood on the edge of this murky stream we saw many people of all ages and races (some in billowing white robes), dunk themselves in the waters, some being baptized and some maybe re-enacting their baptism. We saw some fill up bottles with the water and some scoop up the mud from the bottom of the river.
It certainly wasn't like the clear and clean stream we see in the movies and there is no certainty that this was "the spot" Jesus was baptized - what matters is not so much the precise spot of Jesus' baptism, but rather the importance of the whole ritual.
Our next stop was
, the ancient and the oldest known inhabited city in the world. Here we saw an excellent view of the
Mount of Temptation.
After being baptized, Jesus went to this mountain and fasted for forty days and nights and was tempted by the devil.
Then Jesus was led by the Spirit out into the desert to be put to the test by the devil" (Mt 4:1) .
We also caught a glimpse of a Greek monastery (St. George's) which clings to the rock face of the
Mount of Temptation
. We had lunch here in a bustling marketplace... a few pilgrims really entered into the desert experience after lunch and rode a camel!
We then visited
famous site known as the hiding place of the
Dead Sea Scrolls, a literary treasure trove authored by the Essenes and hidden since shortly after the time of Christ.
The Great Isaiah Scroll i
s one of the original seven Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947. It is the largest and best preserved of all the biblical scrolls, and the only one that is almost complete.
The Essenes at Qumran lived an
austere lifestyle in their remote desert surroundings. Study of the Jewish Law went on in shifts around the clock.
The Qumran community was driven
from its wilderness retreat by the Romans in AD 68, leaving its library of scrolls hidden in caves for safe-keeping.
Our final stop and resting place for the night was a resort on the
Because the water of the Dead Sea has no exit, it is lost only through evaporation, which leaves behind the minerals. The Dead Sea is nearly 10 times as salty as the open seas! The high concentration of minerals provides the buoyancy that keeps swimmers suspended and floating. After we checked into our hotel for the evening, we were able to walk down to the beach and enjoy a float!
Click the image below
to view a short video that contains an overview of our fourth day in The Holy Land!
We really want you to feel like you are journeying with us
, so please send along any prayer requests that you have. We will remember them at the holy sites we visit throughout the week.
Please keep us in your prayers too!
You can send a prayer request by clicking the “
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” button below. "Come and see” the Holy Land, continue with us in the land of Jesus' life, death and resurrection.
on Saturday, April 16, 2016 at 5:15PM