Mt Nebo in the land of Moab, was also where Moses died. His eyes were not dim, and he still had vigor at 120! Scripture says (Deuteronomy 34:6) that God buried him in the valley, but no one knows where. How was his body transported there from the mountain? Jude 9 maybe gives us a clue. He was the only man Jehovah knew face to face...what an honor! There was never another prophet like him.
We took a short detour to a mosaic factory sponsored by the government. The program was developed by Queen Noor, the American woman who married King Hussein of Jordan. Handicapped artisans (most in wheelchairs), were taught the craft for two years, and then given the opportunity to work in the factory, designing, cutting the stone, and then gluing the pieces to a mesh framework. The mosaics were very well done! Proceeds from sales went to support these special needs artisans.
It was time now to head for the Israeli border, and make our way "Into the promised Land". Because our guides and buses were not yet at the Israeli side of the Allenby bridge, we waited in the bus for over an hour. They finally gave us the go ahead. I was expecting a thorough check as we reached customs on the other side, as I remembered in 1985, when I was on my way to Papua New Guinea. Not so...I was amazed that we sailed right through without any inspection whatsoever!
What a relief it was to be in Israel. It felt as though a burden had been lifted from our shoulders. No more overly friendly Arabs in the marketplace, trying to take advantage of your pocket book. No more children pushing postcards with sad voices, or women asking for tips to use the restroom ( because there was no paper in the toilets, so you needed to purchase a few squares from them). No more con artists that offer to help you or encourage you to take a photo of them, and then insist on a tip. And lastly, on a positive note...we can finally drink the water from the tap, and brush our teeth without bottled water! Hooray!
We met up with Chen (pronouncing the H as the guttural ch in l'chaim, almost like a cat hissing), settled into our buses and took off for our hotel, the Dan Panorama in Tel Aviv (which means "hill of rebirth or new life").
On the way, we made a stop in Jaffa or Joppa (named after Japheth, one of Noah's sons.) It's also famous for being the port from which Jonah sail to escape God's orders to go to Nineveh. Instead, he ran away to Tarshish. And we all know the story of what happened next...
You would have thought our tour guide would have chosen Jonah's story to relate, but he didn't. Instead, he focused on Peter, who came to Joppa to heal Dorcas, and stay with Simon the Tanner. While he was waiting for his meal, Peter fell asleep, and dreamed of a sheet that lowered down, with clean and unclean animals. God told him to rise and eat, but Peter protested, because no good Jew would touch the unclean. But, God told Peter he could now eat anything, because God had made it all. This was the beginning of his ministry with the Gentiles, and as Chen said, was also the beginning of our Christian roots. Dan volunteered to read the passage in Acts, and it was all so touching! We wondered if Chen is a Messianic Jew, because he seemed so passionate when relating the Biblical account. Stay tuned!
Did I tell you that Joppa is charming? Olivia and I fell in love with it and we both agreed that we would love to move here some day! While we were walking through the old city, we saw numerous wedding photos being taking in this very popular spot.
Tomorrow we will take off for Caesarea...Chen has a connection to make with Peter there.