You’re hearing from Mark today as Nanette stayed behind at the hotel not feeling well. We began the day at the top of the Mount of Olives with a panoramic view of the old city of Jerusalem. Our first visit was to the Pater Noster (or Our Father) church which commemorates Jesus teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. There are murals of the Lord’s Prayer written in over 100 languages in the courtyard. From there we walked down the Palm Sunday walk where Jesus rode on his way into Jerusalem on that day. At the bottom of the hill is the garden of Gethsemane. The church there is built over a large rock that Jesus might have leaned against when he was praying on the night of his arrest.
Pater Noster Church
Garden of Gethsemane
From there, we left Jerusalem for the Jordan River. The terrain changes dramatically from the Judean hills to the Judean wilderness as you drive down below sea level on the dry side of the mountains away from the Mediterranean sea. The hills become desert very quickly. We visited the site of Jesus’ baptism by John. Due to the location near Jericho, it is also the place the Israelites were believed to have crossed the Jordan to enter the promised land. A mountain overlooking Jericho at the edge of the desert is called “temptation mountain” as it is possibly where Jesus was tempted by “all the kingdoms of the world”.
Jordan River Baptism Site
The last site we saw was an overlook into a deep valley where the Greek Orthodox church has a monastery. This valley was the original “road” from Jerusalem to Jericho. Consider the parable of the Good Samaritan. It is also suggested that King David shepherded his sheep in the hills and would have been familiar with this valley as the “valley of the shadow of death” when he wrote Psalm 23.
Valley of the Shadow of Death