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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 76

From Jerusalem to Jericho

From Jerusalem to Jericho.

From Jerusalem I rode down to Jericho and the Dead Sea, accompanied by a Bedouin Chief, who for a moderate payment undertook to prevent my being robbed or maltreated by any of his tribe, many of whom we met fully armed in that region, known as the scene of the Good Samaritan's giving relief to the poor man "who fell among thieves." Although the shores of the famous Dead Sea are arid and sterile, the mountain scenery around it is imposing and picturesque. I tried to have a swim in the dense acrid water, but it is easier to float than to dive or to make progress; and afterwards I was glad to have a refreshing wash in the Jordan, which flows into the Dead Sea near its northern extremity, and passed the moonlit night in a tent on the Plain of Jericho in view of Mount Pisgah, from which Moses viewed the Promised Land. With one follower as groom and guide, I journeyed by old time-worn tracks through Samaria to Nablous, the ancient Sichem, and was most hospitably received into the house of a good missionary, who accompanied me to Mount Gerizim and to page 53 Jacob's Well, beside which we sat together talking of Scriptural events connected with this part of the land, which seemed to be in the same condition as when Jesus passed that way and held converse with the "Woman of Samaria." This indeed might be said of most parts of Palestine at that periods for the present Mahomedan inhabitants are devout worshippers of Jehovah (Allah), and many of the old men, with their long white beards and flowing Oriental garments, seen at their prayers, with gestures and expression of fervent devotion, seem to realise our idea of the Jewish Patriarchs, and the ordinary avocations of the sparse population seemed like those of Bible times, though since then the country has been often conquered and overrun by numerous invaders. My way onwards lay through the desolate plains of Esdraleon, by Gilboa, to Nazareth, which is even now an attractive and beautifully-situated village in a fruitful valley of Galilee; there I was again hospitably entertained by the resident missionary, Mr Zeller, and his amiable wife, a daughter of Bishop Gobat. Had I been travelling with a party I should probably not have had the great advantage I so much enjoyed, in being the guest of such worthy and intelligent friends, to whom I was indebted for much kindness and valuable information. From Nazareth I went on to the Lake of Tiberias, where I was lodged in the house of a Jew, and roamed about the scenes page 54 of Christ's most impressive and far-reaching teaching to all the world through the Sermon on the Mount, first given to the crowds who followed Him along the shore of that picturesque lake, whose towns and villages of those times, excepting Tiberias, have disappeared, and left only a sense of lonely but solemn and touching interest to Christian visitors and missionaries coming from regions then unknown, to bring back the Bible to its original home, where the Koran has so long usurped its place.