Monday, August 10, 2009
Jericho and Mount of Temptation
We traveled to Jericho -- where there still are no walls or even any big fences that I could see -- for another cable car ride to the top of a mountain. In this place above, supposedly, Jesus was tempted by the Devil as he was spending 40 days fasting and praying. The Devil told him a stone was a loaf of bread that would satisfy his hunger, but Jesus resisted. (Renee and I were not so steadfast against the lure of lemon-mint drinks.)
Anyway, whether or not the story is true, in this spot true believers have erected an unexpectedly beautiful monastery and chapel. Apparently you can rent the place for retreats and it's easy to see how you'd feel calm and a closeness to God so high up and alone in this place.
The caretaker was not so happy to see us. He made us wait till his cigarette break was over before letting us in the door, then tapped his foot impatiently while we strolled along peeking into corners and snapping pictures.