In mid-March, 36 intrepid travellers ventured to the Middle East with Dr Karin Sowada* on the second MAC Archaeology of the Bible Lands Study Tour.
For most, the visit to Jordan was their first taste of a Muslim country. It was a strange experience to hear the public call to prayer five times each day. Traversing the ancient lands of Edom, Moab and Ammon helped many to see Jordan as part of the Bible’s wider narrative. Ancient churches connected the group with the historical struggles and witness of past saints from over 1,500 years ago. In Israel, the serene beauty of Galilee and the grandeur of Herodian Jerusalem placed the geography and historical reality of Jesus’ ministry into sharp focus.
In a moving ceremony, three women – Bai (Susan) Sheng, and MAC students Leonie Puckeridge and Sue Hurley – were baptised in the Jordan River by Caroline Spencer.
Other tour highlights included swimming in the Dead Sea, a desert safari in spectacular Wadi Rum in Jordan, ‘glamping’ in goat’s hair tents, examining ancient rock art and eating typical local cuisine.
"After the tour, I am reading the book of Mark with so much more depth as to geography and culture and visualising the historical scenes. This has been life-changing in terms of reading the Bible" - tour participant Dr Joy Stevens.
* Dr Karin Sowada is an archaeologist and former ADM CEO.
The Bible Lands Study tour is offered as a unit of study through Mary Andrews College. For more information visit mac.edu.au/units/archaeology-of-the-bible-lands-study-tour
Photos courtesy of Caroline Spencer