Tag Archives: Jordan

Traveling in Jordan again

For the past week I have been traveling in Jordan with long-time traveling friend Leon Mauldin on a personal study trip. We enjoy these trips going to places that  we miss during regular tours. That is because some of the places are difficult to reach and would have little interest to the first-time traveler to the Bible Lands. It sometimes takes us half a day to locate a place and visit it.

The tourist folks in Jordan like to call their country “the other Holy Land.” Not only did Jesus visit this area but it was often the area of travel for the patriarchs, prophets, and kings of ancient Israel.

Today we visited the Jabbok River a few miles east of the Valley Road (Roman Perea) and Deir Allah. This is thought by some to be the place where Jacob met his brother Esau on the return from Padan Aram. See Genesis 32 for the full story). This photo will give you some idea of the terrain and the small river, now called the Zarka.

The Jabbok River east of the River Jordan. Near here Jacob a life-changing encounter with the LORD. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The Jabbok River east of the River Jordan. Near here Jacob had a life-changing encounter with the LORD. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The baptism site in Israel

We had a surprise for the tour group today.

Arrangements had been made through our tour operator to visit the traditional site where John the Baptist worked, and where Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.  This site, called Qasr al-Yahud, has been closed since 1967 except for the use of the Greek Orthodox Church on special occasions such as Epiphany. The area from the main highway to the site is still military. We had to get special permission and arrive at an appointed time in order to enter.

The photo shows a portion of the  yet incomplete new site, the Jordan River, and the access point across the river in Jordan. The Jordanian site claims to be Bethany beyond the Jordan.

25 They asked him, and said to him, “Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?”
26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know.
27 “It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.”
28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
30 “This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’
31 “I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”
32 John testified saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him.
33 “I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’
34 “I myself have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:25-34 NAU)

Traditional Baptism Site on the Jordan River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Traditional Baptism Site on the Jordan River. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

This location is also the in the area where ancient Israel crossed from the Plains of Moab into the promised land.

The new site will be nice once it is completed and the road is upgraded.

We also visited Wadi Qelt, Qumran, the Dead Sea, and Masada today.

A visit to the Siegfried H. Horn Museum

Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan, has long been associated with archaeological work, especially in Jordan. This work is carried out under the name of the Institute of Archaeology.

The interesting history of the Siegfried H. Horn Museum may be read here. The name of Siegfried H. Horn is well known to anyone who had read about biblical archaeology in modern times.

Last week I was at Valparaiso, Indiana, presenting a series of lessons on Bible History and Archaeology. I had long wanted to visit the Horn Archaeological Museum. When we learned that we were slightly more than an hour away, Mark Russell, Steve Wolfgang and I made the trip one morning. The Museum is hopeful of moving into a new facility as soon as the project can be funded. At this time the small museum is open only on Saturday afternoon, but they will open by appointment, as they did for us.

The Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum houses over 8,500 artifacts, but only a small portion of those are on display. There are replicas of a few famous artifacts such as the Black Obelisk of Shalmannessar II and the Moabite Stone

There are significant original pieces from most areas of the Bible world with Mesopotamia and Transjordan being featured. There is a mummified Ibis from Egypt. The Egyptian god Thoth was portrayed with the head of an Ibis. I never see representations of these gods without thinking of Paul’s description of the Roman world prior to the coming of Christ.

Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:22-23 ESV)

Mummfied Ibis from Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Mummified Ibis from Egypt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

In the main exhibit hall there is a life-size Bedouin tent. This makes a good background for explaining patriarchal life.

Authentic Bedouin Tent at Horn Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Authentic Bedouin Tent at Horn Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. (Hebrews 11:8-10 ESV)

Two other things should be mentioned. There are some wonderful models. One that impressed me was of the Roman rolling-stone tomb at Heshbon. The murals covering biblical and modern church history are impressive.

I recommend that anyone traveling in the vicinity of Berrien Springs, or those living within driving distance, take advantage of this opportunity to visit. Bible class teachers would do well to become familiar with this Museum and arrange for their students to see it.

Our thanks to Jody Washburn, an Administrative Assistant at the Institute of Archaeology, for her help in making our visit pleasant.