On The Jericho Road
Today we hiked the Wadi Qelt along the old Jericho Road. It was HOT!! We took George’s taxi to the bluff above St. George’s monastery and were greeted there by a swarm of Bedouins. We quickly moved through them and began the descent through the rugged, craggy beauty down into the Wadi. A little Bedouin woman leading a donkey shared the road with us.
The monastery was wonderful. It is a Greek Orthodox holy place hanging on the cliffs above Wadi Qelt. Monastic life began here in the fourth century when hermits came because they thought this was the place where Elijah was fed by the ravens. There are cave dwellings all over the cliffs including one we saw that could only be reached by rickety wooden ladders.
It is an active monastery which welcomes pilgrims and visitors with sweet Arabic coffee and biscuits. There are interesting relics of dead monks, skulls, bones and such. It is actually a beautiful and tranquil place.
Leaving the monastery, we began the hike in earnest. Wonderful. The Wadi was wild and rugged. Unfortunately, Holly had a fall within the first hour, hurting her knee and triggering a serious reaction in her body. She quickly overheated and became faint and dizzy. The temperature soared into the low 40’s Celsius. The hike from this point on was a battle to keep her body managing the heat. She persevered for five hours. Daniel, our guide, did a great job helping her by encouraging her to drink. He frequently poured water over her head so the evaporation would cool her down. He was very patient with her slower pace. It was quite an ordeal but she made it! She used a parasol the whole way which she feels may have saved her life.
Think about that poor traveler Jesus spoke of who was beaten, robbed and left naked on this road. I can tell you now from personal experience that if someone had not stopped, he would not have lasted long in this kind of heat. It adds a sense of life and death urgency to the Parable of the Good Samaritan.
We finally made it up out of the Wadi to catch an air conditioned bus, driven by our own Good Samaritan!
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