In the interest of Mother's health, we kept our outing on December 27 short, wanting to conserve her strength for our planned trip to Galilee and the North the rest of this week. But she was still very anxious to see the traditional spot of Jesus' baptism, so we made a quick trip down to Qasar al-Yahud, which is the new facility on the Israeli/Palestinian side opposite the more established site on in the Kingdom of Jordan (see my entry at the very bottom of the Jordan Fall 2011 page, at the end of Day 4).
After that, we drove through Jericho, stopping at Tel el-Sultan (the archaeological dig for Bronze Age and Old Testament Jericho; see earlier posts here and here), where she looked over into the tell and visited the market. She was having difficulty walking, and it was just not feasible to wheel her through the site. But she got to see it, and she had particular delight in seeing the "Zacchaeus Tree," a big sycamore tree that recalled the great incident in Luke 19:1-10.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at home in our apartment, much as we had Christmas Day and yesterday---relaxing, watching movies, and enjoying time together.
|The new (and somewhat controversial) baptismal site developed by Israel on the western bank of the Jordan|
|Looking across at the traditional baptismal site on the Jordanian side of the river|
|The Jordan River, rather muddy with winter rains|
|Helping Mother lean over to feel the water of the Jordan, somewhere near where Jesus was baptiszed|
|Lindsay touching the water|
|A sad reminder that the spot was developed in the middle of a military frontier zone.|
|The Zacchaeus Tree|