Discussions of the Bible lands typically evoke images of Israel & its prominent biblical sites. Yet, its neighbors, Jordan & Egypt, are also steeped in rich Christian history. Tours to these areas can be combined with the Holy Land or Footsteps pilgrimages or stand on their own for a more in-depth study.
Located in the center of the Holy Land, Jordan is deeply woven into the Old Testament. Adam and Eve’s Garden of Eden may have been on the fertile, northwest bank of the Jordan River. Moses led the Israelites through Jordan during their escape from Egypt, and this is where Abraham and Job first heard God’s word. Here are some ideas for sites you can visit in Jordan:
- Petra – Visit these amazing buildings carved from the rock. Thought to be the Biblical city of Sela, this area was home to the Edomites.
- Gerasa (Jerash) – See the colonnaded streets, plazas, temples, paved pathways, theaters & fifteen Byzantine churches of the most complete Graeco-Roman city in the Middle East.
- Madeba (Madaba) – Some of the finest mosaics of early Christendom can be seen here, including the earliest religious map of the Holy Land (6th c. AD).
- Mt. Nebo – Enjoy the view of the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho & the distant hills of Jerusalem as Moses did.
- Bethany Beyond the Jordan – Visit John the Baptist’s settlement & one of the world’s first churches. See Wadi al-Kharrar (where Elijah sought refuge) & Tell al-Kharrar (where he ascended to heaven).
- The Dead Sea & Lot’s Cave – See the church & monastery Byzantine Christians built & dedicated to Lot.
Add a trip to Amman, Umm Qays, or the Dead Sea.
Egypt is mentioned in the Old Testament almost 700 times, and another 25 times in the New Testament, making it the most frequently-mentioned place outside Canaan in the Bible. Explore sites such as:
- Giza – Marvel at the Pyramids that stood during the times of Abraham, Moses & the Holy Family’s escape from Herod.
- Cairo – See the 7th-c. Hanging Church or the Saints Sergius & Bacchus Church which houses the cave where the Holy Family is believed to have stayed when they fled from Bethlehem. Then, visit the Coptic Museum to gain insight into the history of the Christian church in Egypt.
- Mt. Sinai & St. Catherine’s Monastery – The oldest continually-occupied monastery in the world sits at the base of the mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Tradition says that the plant there is descended from the Burning Bush from which the voice of God spoke to Moses.