Following the twists of the road to the top of Mt Nebo, goats wander through the dry rocky landscape, tent homes of the Bedouin are scattered in the swirling dust, and huge machine guns are mounted to the top of hummers parked at the road's check points.
We are in the Holy Land. We are following the route Moses was forbidden to travel by the King Edom (Numbers 20), and headed to the spot where Moses was given a view of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 34:1) and where Moses was later buried, by the Hebrew God himself. The episode of Balak and Balam (2:13-26) also took place here.
From the top (817 m, 2680 ft) is a panoramic view of the "holy land", including the River Jordan, the Dead Sea, and the Palestinian West Bank. They say that the cities of Jericho and Jerusalem are visible on a clear day (which is not surprising because they are just on the other side of the valley), but alas, it is not a clear day.
We walk up the stone pathway and into the courtyard of the Byzantine chapel at the summit. The chapel was originally built in the 4th century AD, and is now a mix of museum and peaceful sanctuary. The whole place has an easy, holy, peaceful feel. An olive tree outside, one among many, was planted by the Catholic Pope John Paul II, to promote peace between the Muslim and Christian people. The inside is a simple stone walled chapel and alter, flanked by beautiful, nicely preserved tile mosaics depicting animals and various christian stories. Outside is a very interesting sculpture of a cross with a serpent twisted around it.
As we look out over the valley of the River Jordan, I am struck by the power that the legends of this place have, and have had, over people. Wars and wars and wars have been fought over mere details pertaining to this place. I think about this as i meditate and make my offering of water to the mountain. When i pour the water out of the bowl, something happens that has not happened anywhere yet, one of the stones falls out of the bowl! I am not surprised when i realize that the stone that fell out is Rose Quartz. Rose Quarts, the stone of love. It opens up the heart for both giving and receiving love. It brings gentleness, forgiveness, compassion, kindness and tolerance. More of that is exactly what this place needs.
Soaking our feet in the altra super salty water of the Dead Sea.