25th July 2019
Also this morning we left early. We crossed the refugee camp at the remains of Herod’s palace and then we entered the wadi…unfortunately it was the wrong one. We returned and took the correct way: the legendary Qelt wadi.
Since the beginning you could admire the extraordinary canyon landscape. The beautiful pathway that goes up on the right side took us in short time at the monastery of St. George of Koziba. Staying on the right, we went up until we reached the aqueduct. How nice to see life flourish in the desert where little water flows! Fresh water made our steps happier and lighter till the Ein Qelt springs. Here we stopped under a tree while Manuel put his feet in the water.
Yesterday in the desert we were the only ones. Today we met some pilgrims, tourists, holiday-makers…we are getting closer to Jerusalem.
Right after the spring we started the terrible climb to reach the road. Heat has taken away our energies. We were exhausted. When we arrived at the bus park, we had some rest under the tent of a Bedouin. Here Davide took the taxi while me and Manuel went on. We met again at the service station of the highway A1 for an abundant lunch.
A taxi took us to Sea Level along the highway. From there, always under the sun, we went in the desert to look for Jamil Bedouin camp, where we would have spent the night. All the kids of the camp, seeing us arrive from far, ran to have a seat in the shadow of a car. When I got closer – I was the first, the others were behind – they all stood up. They seemed the welcome committee. They showed us the way and came with us till the place reserved for us. While waiting for Jamil, his wife gave us a room in a container and brought us some fresh water, fans, coffee and indicated us where we could wash ourselves.
In the afternoon we had some rest under the tent and played with the kids. Before dinner we took three plastic chairs and we moved them far away to pray undisturbed in the desert. The kids, each one with his own chair, seated around us and stayed there for all the time. I was able to stay some moments alone, while the sun was setting behind the dunes. While contemplating the desert, I thought to our pilgrimage and to what Jesus might have felt the night before reaching Jerusalem for the Easter Feast when he would have been killed.
It is the first time I have the chance to spend half day with the Bedouins in the desert and see from close their life and share with them some habits. With little, but with a lot of humanity, I feel at home.