Jerusalem to Jericho

In the afternoon of Monday September 14 we went to Jericho, by car. According to reports we've read, the West Bank wasn't really accessible, but all we can say, it seemed to be very safe. There is no sign of trouble, and Israeli cars just use the motorway. We didn't want to take the car into Jericho though, just drive to the border.

The motorway to Jericho is full of surprises though. For example you can visit the inn of the Good Samaritan...

We also came past the Wadi Qelt, which we entered, Ida with much fear and trembling, but it all appeared safe. The Wadi Qelt is some kind of oasis on the old road from Jerusalem to Jericho. This is at the beginning.

Ida did the driving.

You see the road a bit behind the Greek Orthodox Monastery St. George:

The monastery itself appeared completely deserted.

The road from Jerusalem to Jericho is quite a bit down. Jerusalem itself is at 1500 metres below see level, while Jericho is about 258 metres below see level. This is the point where we were at see level.

And here we see the Dead Sea again. This is the Northern tip of course, where the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea. Not sure if much water from the Jordan flows into the Dead Sea right now actually:

Israelis may not enter Jericho, by Israeli law. We parked our car here, and started walking towards Jericho. Within minutes a cab stopped and with 4 people in the back seat and me in the front, we drove towards the ruins of Joshua's Jericho.

We must say the people in Jericho were very nice. Certainly not like Egypt, where they tend to be annoyingly persistent. Here they were friendly and didn't ask outrageous prices.

The ruins itself are not very interesting, at first sight. But archeology actually has clearly proved that what Joshua described, happened as he described it. The only problem is that archeologist try very hard to put the wrong dates on things. But luckily we have biblical archeologist. If you're interested, this is a good article on the ruins of old Jericho.

You can see the ruins of Jericho in this picture, taken when we went up the supposed mountain of Temptation. It's the small sand hill, right in the middle of the picture, just after the first house.

The monastery on the cliff is the monastery of the temptation. This is supposedly the mountain of temptation, where the devil brought Jesus. We found that unlikely. We're below sea level here, so this mountain is a tiny hill above sea level, not likely to be the "exceeding high mountain" mentioned by Matthew.

Date palm in Jericho.

And then a picture few will have seen with their own eyes. Next to the ruins of old Jericho, opposite the road actually, to the East, is Elisha's well or spring. But there's no sign. I asked the shop owner where we were drinking lemon juice, and he asked his young assistant to go with me. We went to a shed next to his shop, and the boy convinced the labourers to open it, and I could go inside. This is supposedly the well where Elisha cast salt in, to purify it (at the far end of this picture, I could see the water coming up). And this is the actual location where the water comes out of the ground. The cities water supply is still coming mostly from this spring.

This was taken on the way back from Jericho to Jerusalem, dwellings of bedouins.

Boy on ass, just waiting to cross the motorway.