Middle East

Sand and water

Posted by Eliza Myers in Middle East on September 19, 2011

 
 

I took a moment to catch my breath. The gigantic sand dune kept going straight up into the air and down below me the people were already looking like Polly Pocket dolls. But it was the challenge of the Wadi Rum desert that kept me climbing the sand dune. I figured Lawrence of Arabia hadn’t…

 

Petra treasures

Posted by Eliza Myers in Middle East on September 17, 2011

 
 

After a walk through a shadowy, narrow gorge in the desert, a light appears through the sandstone mountain slits. There is where I got my first glimpse of the iconic Treasury. The elaborate tomb’s façade was carved by the mysterious Nabateans between 100 B.C. and 200 A.D. This iconic structure is reason enough for many…

 

Down to the river to pray

Posted by Eliza Myers in Middle East on September 13, 2011

 
 

Almost 2,000 years ago, John the Baptist baptized a man in the Jordan River who would change the world. I got to walk on the hallowed ground where this miracle occurred at Bethany-Beyond-Jordan. It is easy to picture this event, since the area has the same desert look that it had during the time of…

 

Touching the hand of Hercules

Posted by Eliza Myers in Middle East on September 11, 2011

 
 

You might not think of Hercules when you think of Jordan. However, Hercules once stood atop the Citadel Hill in Jordan’s capital, Amman, during the Roman times. All that’s left of the once giant statue is little more than a piece of the hand, but that is enough to imagine the statue‘s former grandeur. Walking…

 
 

What can be said about this city that has not been said?  It is a cauldron of culture and religion.  It holds the secrets of eternity and it draws pilgrims from the world’s three monotheistic faiths like other cities draw fans to a game.  We stood on the Mount of Olives and looked across thousands…

 

Ancient Jericho remains an oasis

Posted by Mac Lacy in Middle East on June 29, 2010

 
 

Driving down from the Sea of Galilee into Jericho was a study in topography.  The Sea of Galilee is refreshing in itself, bright blue and dotted with boats.  As you drive toward Jericho and the Dea Sea, you descend steadily toward some of the world’s lowest elevations and windswept deserts that are so reflective of…

 
 

Wisam Salsaa was our guide for most of this trip.  He is Palestinian and works out of Bethlehem.  He is a Christian.  On our way into Jerusalem from Jericho, he brought up an age-old teaching of Jesus, but added this caveat: ‘When Jesus said ‘if someone strikes you on the right cheek, offer them the…

 

To each his own

Posted by Mac Lacy in Middle East on June 27, 2010

 
 

To anyone who comes here, there may be a moment of personal epiphany or revelation, I would guess.  Many are most moved by the historic sites–the place of Jesus’s birth in Bethlehem, or his passion in Jerusalem.  The Garden at Gethsemane, or maybe Nazareth, where he grew up and was eventually shunned. For me, it…

 
 
 

Raed Abu Sahlieh is as charistmatic a figure as we met in all of Palestine.  He is the priest of St. George’s Church in Taybeh and he is an outspoken proponent of peace and justice in this beleagured region of the world.  He spent almost an hour with us and one gets the feeling he…

 

Microbrews come to Palestine

Posted by Mac Lacy in Middle East on June 23, 2010

 
 

Dr. Maria C. Khoury and her husband have managed to build the only microbrewery in the Middle East.  The Taybeh Brewery was established in 1994 when she, of Greek descent, and he, a Palestinian native, returned to his homeland to live.  After managing to get necessary permits, they began brewing Taybeh Beer.  It is now…