Day #13- Petra
Today we left the hotel in Eilat, Israel at 8am for about a 15 minute ride to the Jordanian border. We passed through customs in about an hour, pretty seamlessly. We had a new bus and a new tour guide waiting on us as we came out of the check-point. Then, it was on to Petra.
First, a little about Jordan:
Jordan in the Bible:
Jordan borders Israel, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. It was part of Canaan in Bible times. It is named after the Jordan River which flows between Israel and Jordan. There are multiple locations in Jordan that are mentioned in the Bible. In fact, no other country besides Israel has so many Scriptural associations and locations as Jordan does. The Jordan River is repeatedly mentioned ( over 185 times in the Bible), as well as Lot's Cave, Mount Nebo, Bethany, etc. Tomorrow, we will visit many of those sights.
There are nearly 10 million people who call Jordan home.
96% of them are Muslims.
Arabic is their official language and English is their second language.
Petra in the Bible:
The city of Petra, made famous in Indiana Jones is not mentioned in the Bible by that name.
It is rather called Sela in places like Isaiah 16:1 and II Kings 14:7. Both words mean "rock" and that is a good name because most of the city is carved into sandstone. Jordan and Israel share the Dead Sea and Petra is about 50 miles south of the Dead Sea.
Petra was the land of the Edomites, who were descendants of Esau. Israel and Edom were always at war with one another. That angst began when Edom refused to allow Moses and the Israelites passage through their land on their trip to Canaan (Numbers 20:18-21)
Petra was built in the heart of a hidden valley.
The city is completely surrounded by high mountains and canyons that only allow a direct access to the city by a narrow gorge that is open in the rock mountain range known as the siq.
Like in Indiana Jones, you come out of the sig and you see the Treasury. But the Treasury is anything but a treasury. Petra is filled with spirits and tombs. It was more about death than it was about life.
Tomorrow is our last day! It will be a full day as we trace Moses' steps through Jordan.