Bethel and Jericho

Nov. 9th

Got clear away from camp at Nablus before sunrise, and in 1 hr came to Joseph's tomb - small rough building in ruins - and Jacob's Well, on which Jesus sat. A building was here erected over it; 'tis now only a heap of stones. The well is about 9 feet from present surface and, by our measurement, 64 ft deep. A stone took 2 sec. to reach bottom. We found no water in it; but 'tis not so deep as formerly. Both well and tomb are in Joseph's parcel of ground, and just alongside Mt. Gerizim.

The country passed through to-day is small round hills and narrow valleys. Lunched at Shiloh, a bleak, barren looking place. Came on to Bethel thro' wild country, said to be infested with robbers. Although now so bleak and forlorn looking, there are evidences of high cultivat1on formerly, all the hills being terraced. Water bad here. Party a little divided about travelling slower; it has been slow enough in all conscience.

Nov. 10th

Left Bethel at six, under protection of Bedouin Sheik, who will remain with us for two or three days. Country very wild and stony all the way to Jericho. At a village on road saw some women dancing, being last day of ?. They kept moving round in a circle, all singing a monotonous tune consisting of 3 or 4 notes, and apparently repeating some words at intervals. A number left outer circle and formed an inner one, still going round and moving their hands from their faces.

Jericho, or where it was, is in plain of Jordan, and about 6 miles off the river. The plain is 12 miles broad, with the river in the centre, with high mountains like walls on each side. Went to see Monastery built on top of high cliff. Climbed up to their door and found it fast. The two monks (whole of them) being down in plain for water. However saw them come about 800 ft up side of cliff. They appear to be workers, and had constructed an oven, evidently for pottery making. The view was very grand - deep wild gorge just below them, then wide plain and mountains of Moab, and just a side of Mt Nebo, also bed of Jordan and a piece of Dead Sea. Saw also a Copt hermit, who lives quite alone on some rocks. He was right away above us, and we could not get to him; but our Mr Floyd talked with him easily, though abt. 200 yards off. He was reading, and said 'twas book of David's Psalms. When asked how he lived he said God sends him his food. Hope he is happy: 'tis an awful lonely spot. Encamped near fountain of Elisha - good water. The plain is covered with shrubs and thorn trees, also Dead Sea apples, a yellow fruit, size of a plum: when broken, a nasty frothy slime comes out. Found the plain hot and oppressive, and mosquitoes about. Had a hot time of it last night with flies. Hope 'twill be better to-night, as we get up to-morrow at ½ 3.

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