Suitcase and World: Day 16. Mount Nebo.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Day 16. Mount Nebo.

We drove from the Dead Sea, up through the surrounding mountains, to arrive at Mount Nebo.

According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where Moses viewed the promised land that God was giving to the Hebrews. Sadly, Moses was forbidden by God to ever set foot on it.

"I will give it to your descendants; I have let you see with your eyes, but you shall not go over there." (Deuteronomy 34:1-4)

According to both Christian and Jewish scholars, Moses was buried on this mountain by God himself though his final resting place is unknown.

On the highest point of the mountain, Siyagha, the remains of a church and monastery were discovered in 1933. The church was first constructed in the second half of the 4th century to commemorate the place of Moses' death. A modern chapel has been built around the church ruins to protect the site and to provide a place of worship.

The chapel.

From the chapel's garden, we enjoyed spectacular vistas of the valley below and a glimpse of the Dead Sea that lay beyond.

It was a dry, arid landscape.

Being on the grounds of a church or monestary always puts me in a tranquil, meditative state.

Plaque that shows the distance from Mount Nebo to various locations throughout the region.

Also on the chapel grounds is a metal serpentine cross sculpture known as the Brazen Serpent Monument. The sculpture was created by Italian artist Giovanni Fantoni and it is symbolic of the bronze serpent created by Moses in the wilderness (Numbers 21:4-9) and the cross upon which Jesus was crucified (John 3:14).

After spending time on the grounds of the chapel, we entered it through its front doors.

The aisle of the chapel was lined with mats to protect the floor beneath. There were a few pews for those who wanted to worship.

On either side of the aisle are the ancient mosaic floors and wall panels.

Surprisingly, photography is allowed so Lei and I snapped away.

Looking at the mosaics, I marveled in awe at how painstaking it must have been for the artisans to take colored stone, chip and carve them into tiny squares and then embed the squares to make the intricate patterns. Truly magnificient pieces of art and works of divine love!

It was one stunning mosaic after another.

After lingering for a bit, we left the chapel and walked back down the mountain to our awaiting cars. As I strolled, I took in one final view of the surroundings and reflected on what a phenomenal day I had had. For a moment, I was sad as I knew my adventures in Jordan would soon be coming to an end.
Our next destination was Madaba which is where we would spend our last two nights in Jordan.