Going up to Jerusalem

The photo of Mount Gilboa was made from Highway 669 west of Beth Shean. Mount Gilboa is remembered as the place where King Saul was defeated by the Philistines (1 Samuel 31). Notice David’s lament:

“You mountains of Gilboa, let there be no dew or rain upon you, nor fields of offerings! For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, the shield of Saul, not anointed with oil. (2 Samuel 1:21 ESV)

A view of Mount Gilboa from the east. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

A view of Mount Gilboa from the east. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

You may recall that the Spring of Harod, where Gideon chose the warriors the LORD wanted (Judges 7) is located at the base of Mount Gilboa in the Jezreel Valley. From that point east down to the Jordan River, there are numerous sources of water. One interesting place is known as Gan Hashlosha (Park of the Three), or by its Arabic name Sakhne (hot springs). There are other sources of water in the vicinity.

I suggest that it may have been in this general area that John the Baptist did some of his baptizing.

John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized (John 3:23 ESV)

I know there are other suggestions, but I am writing on the run and not intending to explore all possibilities.

Gan Hashlosha. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Gan Hashlosha. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins

We encountered rain a few miles north of  Jericho. I turned east on the road going to the traditional Baptism Site (in Israel), but came to the same closed military gate that I had seen before. I called a travel friend in Jerusalem who told me that the site was open for a couple of days in January. He said it will be open for two or three days a week to groups with special permission.

On the way up to Jerusalem we turned aside to view Wadi Qilt (Kelt) and the St. George Monastery. The view below was taken in the rain. The monastery was begun in the fourth century, but the structure you see was built in the late 5th century. For a brief summary and good photos see BiblePlaces.com.

St. George Monastery in the Wadi Qilt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

St. George Monastery in the Wadi Qilt. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

We are in Jerusalem.

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