First View of Galilee from Umm Qais

19 Mar

Whoa!  I found this post as a draft from about a year ago.  Guess I forgot to publish it.  Yesterday, in my post, “The Great Outdoors,” I mentioned several places in northern Jordan, which is my favorite outdoorsy area of Jordan.  In the north western corner of the country is Umm Qais.  The surrounding area boarders Syria and Israel and has a beautiful view of the southern portion of the Sea of Galilee.

Umm Qais interests me for two reasons — other than the fact that it’s a gorgeous place to hike or have a picnic.

Reason 1.

It is believed to be the location where Jesus healed the demon-possessed man.  If you ever visit, you’ll immediately notice the geography consists of very steep hills that create a bowl around the south eastern edge of the Sea of Galilee.  Water flows downhill, right?  Right.  We hiked a little on those hills and thought how much easier goats and sheep have it on that type of terrian.  Thus, it was easy to imagine, after Jesus’ miracle, the herd of crazy pigs running down the slopes.  Once you start running down, you’d probably not be able to stop until you stumbled and rolled to the bottom… and it is a long, LONG way down!

mummqaisJesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man

(Mark 5:1-20)

5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes. 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. 3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.

6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. 7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”

9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.

11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.

14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.

18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolishow much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Roman ruins at Umm Qais, Jordan

Roman ruins at Umm Qais, Jordan

Reason 2.

Umm Qais (a.k.a. Gadera) was one of the ten Greco-Roman cities of the decapolis.  A trade route between Syria and Palestine once ran through it, thus, Greco-Roman-era ruins are found there.  Yes, that’s right.  Columns, stadiums, roadways, and various other structures.  Those people got around!  I think to fully appreciate the widespreadness of their “influence” (a.k.a. take-over!) of such a huge portion of the northern hemisphere, we’d have to travel from Rome to Jordan by boat, horse, and/or camel.  They didn’t have airplanes, and they didn’t have bulldozers or cranes.  Yet, the structures they were able to build are still simply amazing.

Here’s a short video from our hike with our friend, Shawn.


One Response to “First View of Galilee from Umm Qais”

  1. Mary Louise March 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    this was one of my favorite places that I traveled to with you, despite issues with admission fees :) I think the kebsa meal made up for it later!

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