Over the Mount of Olives along the Old Roman Road and to the wilderness we rode. It seemed appropriate that the bus driver’s name was Moses. It was early morning, the sun was out, and we all were anticipating a great day.
The road to Jericho is about 150 meters, along the way we saw round hills with vegetation on them and the more rugged terrain where sheep grazed. The recent rains brought new green growth to hills that would be brown and desolate most of the time. The bus descended, the dirt was a rich red, we were on the decent of Automean. This tough and dangerous road is the road that the parable of The Wounded Man on the side of the road was talking about.
We came to a stop, this is where we would start hiking, a two hour hike. There were venders selling water and oranges., we were going to follow the old route.. The path we followed was between the top of the hill and the Wadi below, some times very narrow, and almost no vegetation. The closes thing I could liken it to is the Grand Canyon in the U.S.
We came to a wide spot in the path with trees, we stopped to rest and Doctor Wright talked about the terrain, the difficulties of living in this area, and some of the benefits of living here. A little farther up the hill from our rest in the shade was the Monastery of Saint George. In the monastery we were treated to juice and oranges, then back on the path down to Jericho. The stones along the path had sharp edges, but as we came down into Jericho the stones were rounded as if they had been washed a long distance down the Wadi.
We saw the hill that is traditionally the place of Jesus’ temptation, and ruins of a city dated to be 10,000 years old, the oldest city on the face of the earth. We saw where the city of Jericho would have been, and talked about the fact that no remains were found to prove or disprove the story of Joshua breaking down the walls. We had some discussion about whether the Bible can be proven to be right or proven to be wrong. For me, the Bible does not have to be proven. If the Bible were proven then it would not take faith to believe, and God puts a lot of emphasis the need for us to have faith. Arco logy and history give me a greater understanding of God’s word, but I don’t need it for faith.
Then a bus ride to the top of a hill to have lunch, the wind was strong and cold, we had to hold tight to our sandwiches or they would blow away. We traveled to other suites and the weather was changing to cold and rain but we pressed on.
I got more from this field study than the others. I think it is hard for me to learn when I am fighting off rain, wind or cold.