When Moses got to Mt. Nebo he could see the Promised Land, but he could not enter.
The mountain has a commanding view down into the Jordan Valley and across. It is more than 2.600 feet above sea level and the Dead Sea at the foot of the Jordan Valley is more than 1,400 feet below sea level. That’s quite a drop and quite a view. You can just see the gold glint of dome from the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. You can also see Jericho, the Dead Sea and practically all of modern Palestine and Israel. I find it curious that the sign at the entrance names the site as a “Memorial of Moses, Christian Holy Place.” Christian? Not Jewish? There is another monument marking where Pope John Paul II said mass.
At the top of the mountain, with its cross which can also be a staff, there is an old church that looks like both a working place of worship and an archeological dig. The church’s walls are intact, framing a modern altar and worship space with new stained glass. It is all covered with a metal and translucent corrugated roof that lets the light in. Some of the mosaics in the side chapels are under restoration.
All along this pilgrim road from Madaba to the Dead Sea via Mt. Nebo and the Baptism site, you are given every chance to buy “Holy Water for baptizing from sacred river Jordan. FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY.” You can buy a “holy set” with Jordan River water, olive oil (also for anointing) and a small cross made of Holy Land olive wood. I am putting together a post on Holy Land Kitsch. Check Back soon.