River Without Water, The Jordan River
Early one morning, Wajeeh picked me up at my hotel and we drove to Mt Nebo and the Jordan River. As a Christian, Wajeeh felt these were the two most important sites that I should see. His struggles as a Christian Palestinian who left his homeland and came to Jordan made these sites relevant to him. These sites connected him and his Christian roots. So off we went to see just some of the many Christian sites in Jordan. There are a lot more than Christian sites in Jordan. Because of Wajeeh showed me the Jordan River, my time in Jordan is one of my most memorable trips. I think because we saw the sites together Jordan is one of my favorite places and built some of my fondest memories.
The Famous Jordan River is Only a Trickle
When we arrived at the site, we paid to ride a bus from one parking lot to another. It seemed kind of funny to me at the time, to go from one parking lot to another. But, the government wants to keep very tight control on the area. There was absolutely no litter anywhere. No litter or cigarette butts in the parking lot, on the trails or at the site.
Then we went to an entrance. There is an entrance fee for the site. So, we paid the admission fee. It is important to know that the Jordanian government maintains this area and takes great care preserving it in its authentic state. During the high season, a limited number of tourist are allowed to enter the site. We walked to the Jordan River by crossing a bridge and walking through some vegetation. Since it is the beginning of Jordanian winter, it wasn’t terribly hot. It was about 75 degrees. Winter is supposed to be the low bug season. However, there are plenty of bugs everywhere.
The Jordan River isn’t a river now. Now, it’s a shallow river bed. The Church and the Church ‘number 2 excavation’ site is along the river, but the Jordan river is only a trickle if that. Where did the Jordan River go? After all, it is called the Jordan River? But, there really isn’t a river there, just a tiny bit of water.
Remember the ad- ‘show me the beef?’ Well, ok – ‘show me the Jordan River!’
One noteworthy point, no matter when you go to the Jordan River you are going to experience bugs. Bring your bug repellent. Yes, this place has a lot of bugs. Actually, you should bring bug spray with Deet. Just think – there are stories about people living on bugs. Can you imagine living on grasshoppers and crickets? I can tell you this. That even in the winter, the low bug season, if you were John the Baptist you could live on bugs – it would be very easy to do here. The site is the place on earth where you could definitely survive on bugs. There are enough bugs to support any living soul. So I am nominating this site one of the “Buggiest Places on Earth.”
So since, there is no Jordan ‘River’ to see, there are archeological sites of the ancient churches that once lined the banks of the Jordan River. Wajeeh did point the tourist police location, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out why we need the tourist police here.
We walked to the next site on the Jordan. Now, I understand why there wasn’t a river downstream at the church sites. The water stops at this point. Most noteworthy, one possible reason for the lack of water is across the water’s banks is Israel. On that section of the river, there is plenty of water. So along the river back that has water, is the shore of Israel. On the part of the river without water is Jordan. Hmmm … it seems like this is the age old problem of the region, a lack of water and dams preventing the flow of the water.
This photo shows me with Israel behind me. See the water is here.
Below is the baptismal filled with water from the Jordan River.
On to the next site. My dream of being baptized in the Jordan River isn’t happening here and now. Time for Wajeeh and me to move on to our next site.
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