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