Day 18: Dead Sea; Baptism at Qsar Al Yahud; Jericho; & The Mount of Temptations!!!

Day 18 of Andy’s month-long ‘Spiritual Journey to Israel & Palestine… Most of Day 18’s experiences have been previously shared—the glorious Sunday Morning Sunrise float in the Dead Sea—and the personal Biblical Moment of being baptized (again) in the Jordan River, this time at Qasr Al Yahud where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist—and venturing into Jericho and riding the cable cars (or locally known as the Telepherique) up to the Mount of Temptations where the devil tempted Jesus three times after he fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the desert.

Still a day so transformational that it is vivid in my mind and spirit!

Funny how things work out or at least how we think they work out as God may have already planned it for us… so it was about 200 kilometers or about three hours driving time up along the Dead Sea from Neve Zohar to Tiberias where my bed was that night. It was a Sunday and I knew I would get up and go for a ‘swim’ in the Dead Sea, come back, shower, check out & head north. I wasn’t sure if I would leave Route 90 as I was not sure my rental car would be insured off the main highway in the West Bank. Qasr Al Yahud was likely, Jericho was not.

So I headed north hoping I would find a church service on a Sunday morning but did not. I was drawn to Qasr Al Yahud to just sit there on the bank of the Jordan River watching surges of loaded pilgrim buses coming and then leaving. It was a tranquil site duplicated to some extent on the other side of the Jordan in Jordan which is more like a stream or creek than a river. Those on the other side were a bit more organized and sang a great deal as the baptisms took place.

Quite miraculously a group of about ten young men, high school age, from an academy in Wisconsin appeared in my corner. Their priest was with them and he was there to give them a sermon on John the Baptist baptizing Jesus right here in the Jordan River. It occurred to me that he was there to give me a sermon too as this was to be my Sunday mass. He spoke about humbleness and how we were all baptized as children but now as adults we need to reaffirm, recommit our faith in God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit. Like the rainbow above the Sea of Galilee prepared me for baptism at Yardenit only a week or so earlier, this sermon prepared me for baptism at Qasr Al Yahud which I did after the boys from Wisconsin had left.

Renewed I thought why not go into the oldest city in all of civilization and see what I could find. I found the Old City of Jericho where trumpets brought the walls down. I took the cable cars up to the Mount of Temptation and saw all of Jericho laid out before me. Haven’t I via my ego been so insidiously tempted by the Devil at times throughout my life only to be redeemed by my faith in Jesus Christ and the Resurrection! Maybe that is all there is to our human life, the ups and downs, the trials and tribulations and somewhere between the Alpha and the Omega we move on from the alpha ultimately making it to the Omega all too soon.

And then the Omega becomes the eternal Alpha, the graduation from this human life to the commencement of our eternal life. Oh what a divine life design comes to us in faith through Jesus and The Holy Spirit. Our spirited and powerful journey through life all guided by Our Father. Amen! Alleluia! This spirit of this day following the Jordan River upstream from the Dead Sea to the Sea of Galilee will remain with me forever.

(Andy Reistetter; Facebook Post with 40 Pics; 2/6/18)

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