June 20: Flight to Amman, Jordan
After an early breakfast, we head to the Cairo airport to catch our early morning flight to Amman, Jordan. Once we get through passport control, we head off to visit the ancient Amman, and a Four Room House from the late Bronze age at Tall al-‘Umayri.
Before heading to our hotel, we will stop at an Arabic Cooking School, where we will not only learn about Middle Eastern Food, but we will get to prepare our own meal!
Dinner and Overnight at the Amman Airport, Hotel.
June 21: The Testimony of the Greatest Prophets
Our trip begins as we reflect on the lives of the greatest of all the prophets: John the Baptist and Moses, both who testified to the coming of Jesus. The first site we visit is Machaerus, one of Herod the Great's palace-fortresses. Machaerus was where John the Baptist was imprisoned and executed after Herodias' daughter danced and demanded John's head be given to her on a platter (Mark 6). We stop next at Madaba. Once a Moabite border city (Num 21:30; Josh 13:9), Madaba is well known for the remains of a famous mosaic map called the Madaba Map. The map dates to the 6th-century and contains the earliest surviving representation of Jerusalem after Hadrian rebuilt it around 135.
After lunch, we visit Mount Nebo, a 3,300 foot high mountain located just north of Madaba and opposite the northern end of the Dead Sea. Mount Nebo is the location from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died (Deut 34). We will then take the Desert Highway south to Petra, where we will spend the night at the Petra Guest House.
June 22: Petra - The Valley of Moses
Following an early breakfast, we depart for a morning tour of Petra, the red-rose ancient city built among the rocks. Petra, which means "rock" in Greek, is a fitting name for this city surrounded on all sides by beautiful cliffs with magnificent tombs, sanctuaries, and dwelling places carved out of solid rock. Located in the Seir Mountains, the area is mentioned in the Bible (Judg 5:4; Deut 33:2) and was the dwelling place of the Edomites. According to tradition, it is here that Moses struck the rock from which water flowed, and where Aaron, the brother of Moses, was buried on one of the mountains peaks. At the time of Jesus, Petra was the capital city of the Nabataeans. The apostle Paul also proclaimed the gospel in this region following his conversion (Gal 1:17). We will walk through the Siq, the main entrance to Petra, and will visit "The Treasury" and the other Royal Tombs. You will have free time to either hike up to the "Monastery" or the High Place, ride a camel, or just explore the area.
After a late lunch, we will drive to the northern end of the Dead Sea, where after checking into our hotel, you will have the opportunity to "float" in the Dead Sea before dinner. The Dead Sea is located some 1,385 feet below sea level, making it the lowest place on earth. Because of its high salt content no life exists in it. It is said that the waters and muds of the Dead Sea are helpful in treating skin diseases. Whether this works or not will be left up to you to decide for yourself as we stop for a swim--or rather a float--in the Dead Sea.
June 23: The Ministry of John the Baptist
We begin the day with a trip to Bethany Beyond the Jordan, the place where John the Baptist preached and baptized people from across the entire region, including Jesus (John 1:28). You will have the opportunity to experience what it was like to respond to the call of John by being baptized in the Jordan. After crossing the border into Israel, we will stop at Jericho, the hometown of Zacchaeus, the tax collector who after hearing John the Baptist later decided to become a follower of Jesus (Luke 19). While in Jericho, we will also see the remains of the ancient fortifications that supported the walls that "came tumbling down" (Josh 6). From here we drive to the Ein Gedi Resort, where we will spend the night.