The walk today was a little more difficult then yesterday. The trek reminded us of our regular wadi walks in Oman. The photos could have been from Oman except fot he amazing shepherds and their flocks. This was a scene from thousands of years and probably before Ibrahim/Abraham.
The first place we saw was Ein Samia.
Samia was the daughter of Calif Walid in the 7th C. The Caliph was based in Jericho at the Palace. Samia had a very bad skin condition and had tried many ailments. She reached a point of having tried Everything. Nothing had worked. Eventually she decided to try something new recommended to her. She was told to go and bathe in the spring at the foot of the cliff of Kefr Malek. She decided to go and spent many nights at the spring. At the time the city on the spring must have been a wonderful sight. There was a church, a roman mill, agriculture and many cave dwellings and wealthier family stone homes all around. After a few weeks Samia noticed a difference in her skin condition and she decided to stay a little longer. After a few months her condition had improved so much that she decided to go back to Jericho almost fully cured. She made many return trips and the spring and the name of the town changed to Ein Samia. The waters have always been known to contain healing qualities.
Very soon after Ein Samia you arrive at three Loat trees(in Arabic Shajara Sidra). You will see them in the middle of the valley with no other trees in sight in the valley except for these three.
In Islamic theology a Sidr tree stands at the gates of Heaven. In fact this could in heaven itself as it under this tree that the prophets had to stop on their way to meet God (Allah). The Angel Gabriel had brought them here and hecould not go any further then this tree. As prophets, however, they could go forward to meet God (Allah). The Sidr tree was the border for the Angels - beyond which they could not go.
So sitting under these three Sidra trees one can only reflect about Ibrahim/Abraham stopping at the Sidra tree in Heaven, expressing his gratitude to Gabriel for the journey to the tree just before Ibrahim/Abraham moves onwards towards his meeting with God (Allah). Sit under these trees and be as close as you can to Heaven on Earth. With healing springs nearby and the Canaanite ruins near to the spring there is every evidence that a site existed here at the time of Abraham. He is is very likely to have visited this area. There are two churches on the site would suggest an association of the area to Jesus too.
Moving on through the wadi we see the Hud Hud bird sunbathing on a rock. The Hud Hud bird was one of the animals that served King Soloman in his court. In local legend he is able to speak to animals, insects and Djinn. Soloman would count his animals in court every morning to make sure that everyone had returned from their designated tasks. One day, one animal was missing, the Hud Hud bird.
Soloman was ready to punish the bird but before he could pronounce judgement, the bird returned and explained that it had been to land which did not believe in the one god but many deities and advised Solomon 'either you can punish me or I can take a message from you inviting them to believe in one God'.
Solomon wrote a letter and asked the Hud Hud to return to that country and drop the letter through the roof of the temple at the time of the local temple ceremony. Hud Hud did exactly that. The land was that of Sheba and it was she who read the letter from Solomon. The rest of the legend is well known.
We arrive at the Bedouin camp. This will be our night's stay tonight.