Okay, okay, so we drove out of Jerusalem to the nice trail head first. But it was the road to Jericho that we hiked, which leads away from Jerusalem, so it counts, right?
The hills around Jerusalem are nice and green thanks to the generous rainy season (that is rapidly drawing to a close). The picture with the lonely tree on the left shows the end of the green as we enter the Jordan Rift Valley and Judean Wilderness.
on display when he died in order to preserve his memory...
I asked Geoff to remind me what all that icon/relic stuff was about. He said that for them the icons serve as windows to Heaven, and told me to picture it as though I was stuck inside, looking out a window, longing to know what it must truly be like outside.
It was touching, really, once I saw it in that perspective. It's easier to judge actions as foolish or misguided and move on with my high and mighty self. But the vulnerability I saw in so many pilgrims today, as they sought GOD as though no one else in the surprisingly crowded desert monastery was there, was inspiring.
I'm thankful that GOD allowed me to see their genuine longing for Heaven, and holiness. Watching the pilgrim's pay homage I grew slightly envious of their unquestioning devotion. Though I still think the actions are a bit off, I think their hearts are right on.
We had a great time. Actually, I don't think he knows I exist.
That's Jericho in the far background, by the way.
Mixed kebab with lamb, chicken and all the trimmings and fresh made mint lemonade - doesn't get much better than that. This was our first real day to be free to spend together exploring Israel with no "work" agenda, and was so refreshing.
Now we are going to get cleaned up in anticipation of a midnight Facetime call and will "attend" Geoff's sister's wedding tonight. Since they'll only see our faces we can just put on nice-er shirts and wear pj bottoms, right? Good. Next up, Facetime wedding photos...