I forgot to title this, but Jerash is, wow!

This was our itinerary today. It didn’t mean a lot to me until I actually saw the places.

DAY 11/ Saturday, July 21, 2018- Traveling north from Amaan, Jordan early in the morning

(1) to stop at the Jabbok River for Jacob’s wrestle with an angel;

(2) then onto Jerash, a city of the Decapolis and probably Jershon for Abraham; where

(3) lunch will be arranged by the tour; then further north to

(4) Um Quais (Ancient Gadara), another city of the Decapolis overlooking the Sea of Galilee;

(5) Cross into Israel at the Sheikh Husseini Border Crossing;

(6) Dinner and overnight stay at the Ein Gev Resort Hotel at Ein Gev on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

The Jabbok River could be a beautiful place. It’s a peacefully flowing river bordered by trees. Unfortunately the water is currently very polluted and litter mars the shoreline. This is a common problem here in Jordan and it gives me a renewed appreciation for the US National Parks System as well as the work done by the churches that create sanctuaries in so many places. I haven’t yet seen a sanctuary for “the place where Jesus bought new sandals,” but it sometimes seems like they go overboard to commemorate every little Jesus thing. But whatever I may think about that, the churches keep things clean. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is not a very wealthy kingdom so they appreciate help, wherever it comes from.

At any rate, I learned that the Hebrew word for wrestle is only one consonant different than the Hebrew word for embrace. This gives me a very different perspective on the story of Jacob’s wrestle with God, when he ends up with a new name.

The ancient city of Jerash/Jershon (a city of the Decapolis) was a huge surprise to me.

How did the Greeks and the Romans do all of this? After Petra, this is one of the most amazing things I’ve seen on this trip. I got to test the acoustics of the theater here and they are amazing!

Um Quais is also awe inspiring, although less restored than some other sites. It is also known as the Black City because it was built from basalt. I also sang in the theater here, but it’s in a greater state of ruin that the one at Jerash, and not as acoustically impressive at this time. I loved seeing the basalt construction, in part because I plan to use something similar in a book I’m working on right now.

Our Jordanian tour guide, Isam, made crossing back into Israel so much easier with his helpful suggestions. He was a wonderful guide. I’m so glad our group got him.

We arrived at Ein Gev tonight, had a delicious dinner and then some of us went night swimming in the Sea of Galilee. The water is warm and the lights of the city across the way look like jewels scatter along the shore and hillside. It’s one of the most beautiful sights I’ve ever seen!

Tomorrow is an early start and a long day. I ditched one site today, because I just needed some mental space. I hope at some point tomorrow I can find some time for personal recharging.

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