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Up until last month, I'd never really wanted to visit the Holy Land. People who had been there told me it makes the Bible come alive, but the pictures I'd seen made the place look barren. I couldn't see how standing at a biblical site could compensate for the dust, heat, crowded streets — not to mention the threat of terrorism.

No thanks, I'd always told myself. I get more insights than I can digest from my commentaries and our lively Sunday school class.

But last month gave me reason to repent. I was invited to tour Jordan, a nation that boasts some significant biblical sites — including Mount Nebo (Dt. 32:49), where you can see what Moses saw of The Promised Land just before he died, and the Ravine Kerith (1 Kings 17:3), where Elijah was fed by ravens, and Bethany Beyond Jordan (John 1:28), where John the Baptist lived and baptized. And as a nation, Jordan has enjoyed a comforting absence of terrorism. So I went.

In some ways, my original prejudices were confirmed. It can be ...

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