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DISCOVERING THE LAND OF JORDAN

By Rick Knoth

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SINCE ANTIQUITY, humankind has felt the urge to journey afar in search of meaning and religious experience. For many, there is a conviction that prayer, meditation, or performing spiritual duties brings them closer to God, and is more meaningful in places of biblical, religious, or historical significance. Today, pilgrimages continue to flourish as vast numbers of people from all walks of life and faiths travel great distances to their sacred places of worship.

People often commemorate places of particular importance with shrines, temples, mosques, or tombs: For example:

Many pilgrimages to the lands of the Bible begin and end in Israel. But another land of the Bible offers the Christian sojourner a treasure trove of biblical antiquities of immense importance to their faith walk with God. No journey to the Holy Lands is complete without a stay over in the tiny, but serenely beautiful country of Jordan.

We can trace some of mankind’s earliest inhabitants and settlements to this tiny piece of real estate. Jordan has been home to Nabataean tradesmen, Greek and Persian armies, Roman legionaries, and Christian Crusaders who fought tirelessly against Mohammedan tyranny.

In this land to the East of the Jordan River resides countless sites of biblical importance. Abraham, Moses, Saul, David, Elijah and Elisha, Ruth the Moabite, John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and others are all intimately tied to the Jordanian landscape.

Jordan is where:

Jordan’s rich biblical past echoes with clarity the stories of the Old and New Testaments. To discover Jordan is to enter into the three-dimensional world of the patriarchs, the prophets, Jesus, and the apostles.

Jordan, like Israel, offers the ideal setting to study the Bible and the roots of the Christian faith. In Jordan, you can visit such places as Amman, Anjara (the town where it is believed Jesus, His mother Mary, and His disciples rested in a cave), As Salt (tomb of Job and Jethro), Jerash (a well-preserved Greco-Roman city in the Decapolis), Tall Mar Elias (site of Elijah’s ascension to heaven in a chariot), Bethany Beyond the Jordan (presumed baptismal site of Jesus), Madaba (site of the earliest religious map [mosaic] of the Holy Land and a town mentioned throughout the Old Testament), Machaerus (modern-day Mukawir and the site of Herod Antipas’ palace and where he imprisoned and beheaded John the Baptist), Mount Nebo, Pella (Penuel), Mount Hor near Petra (site of Aaron’s tomb), Umm Qays (Gadara), and others.

With its welcoming people, unsurpassed beauty, and multiple sacred sites, a visitor’s pilgrimage to the Holy Lands is not complete until he or she has discovered Jordan.

Have you discovered Jordan? I did, and it changed my life.

RICK KNOTH, managing editor, Enrichment journal, Springfield, Missouri

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