Monday, April 28, 2014

Jordan - Jesus' baptism, Mt Nebo and Madaba

Then after the service trip, we stuck around a few more days to take in a few more sights ...

First stop was the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and started His ministry on earth. 

This is believed to be the very spot where Jesus was baptized.  The river is just beyond the trees and a small stream used to feed this spot.  The ruins of something like 7 churches have been discovered surrounding this spot.


This is a mosaic showing how the Jordan River would flow into this spot

Another beautiful mosaic

Today there are still several churches surrounding this spot.  There wasn't really a town nearby, so we're not sure if all of these churches have active congregations, but they were beautiful

They no longer perform baptisms in the spot where they believe Jesus was baptized, instead, they use this part of the Jordan River.  Jaden and Nicholas decided to baptize themselves in the Jordan River ... you can see how narrow the river is...

The other side of the river is Israel.  So close!  The Israeli side of the river was much more crowded and built up much more than the quiet Jordan side. We would love to explore all the Biblical sites in Israel someday, but it is difficult to do so from Qatar.  It could cause problems if you have a stamp in your passport from Israel.  Better to wait until we're living somewhere else.

Down by the river

The next stop was Mount Nebo...where Moses looked out over the promised land before he died and Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River to fight the battle of Jericho.

Mount Nebo
Jaden poses in front of the view of the promised land

This stone was supposed to be approximately the same size as the one that would have covered Jesus' tomb

Ancient mosaic floors preserved under a tent at the top of Mount Nebo

That's Jericho in the distance (present day in Israel, so we didn't go)

Cross at the top of Mount Nebo
Our final stop for the day was in a city named Madaba ... the birthplace of mosaics.  We saw master craftsmen and women creating masterpieces.
Working on a tree of life mosaic.  All the different colored stones are naturally found in Jordan.  The different colors are due to different rocks and minerals (zinc, magnesium, limestone, marble, etc).

ladies working on mosaics to sell.  This particular workshop employed several artists with disabilities.

Church in Madaba with mosaic floor that was an ancient map of the middle east.  This is how they used to preserve and pass down their history through mosaics that would last forever.

boys dancing around and showing off for the camera

Part of the ancient map mosaic preserved inside the church in Madaba

I preferred the mosaic pictures to the mosaic map...

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