After the Bedouin Camp, Jericho was difficult to get used to. All of us wanted to spend more time in the camp with the family. They were genuine people. They had no airs and graces and we took them for who they are.That indeed was the magic of the stay. Next time I would ask to stay at the camp for two nights and make the excursions to Jericho from the camp.
Habib, our guide was the one who had connected the Masar Ibrahim to the Bedouin family. Habib walks these valleys and knows all the shepherds. These boys sitting with us are the shepherds and a delightful group they are. I asked the patriarch why he got involved in the project. The answer was simple, he trusted Habib, it was his tradition to welcome guests, we were no trouble to him and he benefited as well. He meant financially. It would have been rude to ask the proud man how the money was helping. The answer was not needed anyway. This was totally our privilege seeing a Bedouin family from the inside and sleeping in their tent. This could have been Ibrahim/Abraham's tent.
Temptation Monastery was awesome. So this is where Jesus may have sat to contemplate his existence and pray. This is the mountain where he had to face the temptations. Jayme found the experience very moving. To be in the place of Jesus is always very special. I have been very fortunate to have been so many of the sites associated with Jesus including Peter's House on the Galilee, the hill where he preached and the place where Jesus fed the masses and the list goes on. Make sure to go into the cave where the monks used to sleep, was this the cave where Jesus slept? and go onto the balcony from the church to the place where Jesus prayed.
If you stand at the centre of the church and look up you will see a beautiful ceiling and the first person you might see painted with a blue cloak is Ibrahim/Abraham.
This is the path of Ibrahim/Abraham.
Today we started at Herod's Palace in Jericho and climbed the mountain to St. George's Monastery in the valley known as Valley of the Shadow of Death. King David would have known about this valley when he wrote the psalm and no doubt he would have travelled up and down it. The valley goes between Jericho in the Jordan Valley to Jerusalem. No doubt many travellers used this pass.
At the Monastery Daniel told us the story of St Anthony who started the monastic life in Europe. He was a man from Alexandria, Egypt.
"Anthony was born around 251 in Coma, today known as "Kuma AL Arouss." His father and mother died when he was eighteen years old, and he was left with a sister whom he loved very much. One day he entered a church and heard a voice saying: "If you wish to be perfect, go sell all you have, give it to the poor and follow me." He felt that these words were directed to him, so he went and sold all that he had. He gave his sister her share and the rest he gave to the poor. At twenty years of age he went to a hermit and became his disciple. Anthony suffered a great deal from temptations, telling him to return to his sister and the world. With prayer and penance, he overcame them all. For this reason, he became the patron saint of those who are tempted. People became aware of his presence and began to visit him to ask for his blessing and receive counseling from him. He left this place and went to the edge of the Nile close to Fayoun and there he built monasteries, while he himself remained in the hermitage. Anthony was well known for his miracles such as curing the sick and restoring sight to the blind. When Anthony knew that the end of his life was coming, he called the two disciples that were close to him, Macarius and Amathas and asked them to bury his body in secret. He died on January 17,I 356, at the age of 105."
Ibrahim/Abraham's Path continues through the wilderness after St George'sMonastery. Jesus could have been anywhere in this wilderness for his 40 day retreat after his baptism. The connection to this beautiful wilderness is incredible. This is certainly a magical part of the walk. Walk in solitude and reflect. Moreso we are heading to Nabi Musa which is the traditional place in local Islamic beliefs as the resting place of Moses (Nabi Musa).
We arrived at Nabi Musa on a very hot day without shade but with a very cool breeze. It is a wonderful site and a fabulous tomb. If he is not there then, according to the visitors to the shrine, the Spirit of Moses (Musa) is here. Adam and I washed and prayed. The caretaker kindly opened the gates into the shrine for us and we had the opportunity to sit next to the tomb for a short while to contemplate the spirit of the prophets in this area.
The Tomb of Moses (Nabi Musa) has been regarded as the burial place of Moses since the time of Salah El Din.
Adam found that it was possible to spend the night here so he is still at Nabi Musa and the rest of the group are in the El Beit Geusthouse for the night.
We are checking on weather as it might rain. Indeed it has already started.