Jewels in Jericho

Monastery of Temptation

Monastery of Temptation

While in Jericho, we traveled up the Mount of Temptation to see the monastery on the site commemorating Jesus’ temptation in the wilderness. The trip is fast and easy today thanks to a cable car that whisks you up the mountain!

Like so many sites in Palestine and Israel, caves provided the setting for important events. Mary likely was told of Jesus’ coming birth in a cave, Jesus may have been born in a cave, and Jesus taught his disciples in caves.

View of Jericho from Mount of Temptation

View of Jericho from Mount of Temptation

The Monastery of the Temptation amazingly clings to the mountainside about 350 meters above sea level, and it encompasses caves in which Jesus is believed to have endured his temptation. From the monastery, you can view the oasis of Jericho in the midst of the dry land surrounding the Dead Sea. It includes beautiful icons well worth seeing.

In one spot, pilgrims are invited to see a rock on which Jesus is thought to have sat while tempted.Rock of Temptation

While in Jericho, we also stopped to see the old sycamore tree in town.

As a young child, I remember learning the song about Zaccheus, the tax collector whose short stature required him to climb a sycamore tree to catch a glimpse of Jesus as he passed through Jericho.

Zaccheus was a wee, little man.
A wee little man was he.
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For The Lord he wanted to see.
And when the Savior passed that way, He looked up in the tree.
And said, ‘Zaccheus, you come down, for I’m going to your house today.’

Sycamore Tree in Jericho

Sycamore Tree in Jericho

Visiting the tree reminded me of Jesus’ audacious willingness to fellowship with people viewed as sinful and despised by others. It also reminded me of the change brought about in Zaccheus. After his encounter with Jesus, Zaccheus gave half his possessions to the poor and restored four-fold any money he had taken wrongly from people. You may read this story in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 19, verses 1-10.

If you have the opportunity, make the trip to Jericho.

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