After taking a short tour of St. Katherine's monastery at the base of Mt. Sinai, where at this location supposedly Moses met God the "I AM" at the burning bush. This vine looking plant, growing inside the confines of the building which they claim is the original, has never been able to take root in any other place or soil.
Immediately afterwards we took a one and a half hour drive to the Hyatt Red Sea resort for a buffet lunch, and then a two and a half hour trip to the first of three border crossings. For some reason, we were behind schedule, so we had only 3 hours to complete the task before the Israeli border closed for the Sabbath. Taba (Egypt) to Eilat (Israel) to Aqaba (Jordan): lugging luggage (maybe that's where it gets its name), standing in line, showing our passports, walking hundreds of yards to the next checkpoint, waiting in line, etc. In and out of three countries in one afternoon. Whew! But we made it in time, thank the Lord! Needless to say, we were all out of sorts when we arrived at our hotel. It was gorgeous, but we had no time to enjoy it.
The Nabateans (means search for water), Bedouins who were nomads/traders from the South, came to inhabit Edom, (means red, like the rock). After the Assyrians had invaded, they became part of the Edomite kingdom, whose capital became Sela. "...let the inhabitants of Sela sing, let them shout from the tops of the mountains" (and praise the Lord). Isaiah 42:11. The interesting connection is this: the Nabateans would go to the top of the mountains (see them below), to worship and sacrifice to their gods, who weren't people or animals, but, the rocks! Jehovah God is telling them to stand on their gods and worship the true God...awesome!
After three hours in the hot sun, no lunch, and enough photos to fill an album, I was completely "Petra-fied" or Petered out". They both mean rock! So, we are on the long road to Amman, and tomorrow, we face the famous/infamous Allenby Bridge border to gain access into Israel.
We are still looking for seekers, but have not encountered any. We have come disappointingly close, though. Waiting in front of a shop at the end of our monastery tour, a Muslim young man noticed me and Olivia wearing conservative clothing and head coverings. He tapped Dan and asked him, "Is Mohammed your God?" Dan said, "No, we are Christians". He pointed to Olivia and said, "And your babies?" "They are Christians, too," Dan replied, and the conversation stopped. When he recounted the incident a few minutes later, I was delighted. But then Dan told me that he sensed the fellow was interested in Olivia, and not about our faith. I was deflated!
So keep praying that we will be sensitive...