A day of journeys, of travellers, of walkabouts… This day we have met many people from all over the world; Indonesia, Columbia, Brazil, Germany, Rwanda… travelling, making adventurous journeys across this place and all to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.

River Jordan

We began the day travelling to the River Jordan when some rosemary was spotted at the roadside, the coach was stopped and sprigs collected. At the baptismal site, close to the Sea of Galilee the rosemary was used to sprinkle/douse us in the water from the Jordan.

Renewing baptismal vows in the River Jordan

We soon gathered a crowd and people just kept coming to Bishop Jonathan standing in the river. There were people from Columbia, Rwanda and Brazil and others.

The Road to Jericho

The road to Jericho…

An amazing journey, with the countryside starting in intensive horticulture with courgettes, cauliflowers, grapes and date palms. The border with Jordan was at the edge of the roads and in places there were missile launchers pointing to Jordan. After an hour the mountains and terrain changed to rocky boulders and harsher soils with sheep and goats.

The Mount of Temptation

The Mount of Temptation…

At the edge of Jericho, which appeared a sprawl and chaotic city, ( no sign of the wall!!), we took the cable car to the Mount of Temptation. Halfway up the mountain and the views were incredible and just as I imagine it would have been when the devil was tempting Jesus. We then walked into the monastery and a tiny cave, similar to one where Jesus would have sheltered.

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea, lowest place on earth…

My favourite colour is pale blue and this was the total colour of the Dead Sea , the mountains in Jordan and sky. The experience of floating in The Dead Sea was unreal and felt something like being totally weightless. The hardest thing was to try and put your feet on the ground, impossible! Definitely an experience to have though. Photos will follow.

The Road to Bethlehem

The journey to Bethlehem found us travelling past Bedouin camps, young shepherds looking after the sheep on the rocky hillside. Running Parallel with the road was the valley where Jesus based the story of the Good Samaritan, but was also the valley which Jesus described in the 23rd Psalm. It was easy to visualise robbers and isolations.

And then… we became immersed in the traffic around Jerusalem and back in the 21st Century, before going through the checkpoint into Bethlehem to find our hotel The Manger Square Hotel.

Rev’d Sue Martin
Travel for spiritual refreshment…