September 10, 2013
We are driving north, leaving Petra, and it is bare. Linda, one of our group leaders, reads from Numbers 20 where the Israelites are complaining to Moses about the lack of water. I peer out my window–rolling hills of sand, rocks and low shrubs. I envision the 300,000 or so Israelites wandering through this land in their exodus from Egypt. I can see why they grumbled and longed to return to Egypt. At this point even slavery seemed better than trudging through these scorching sands.
I can see how their trek turned into a confusing desert parade. Everything looks the same! The sun sort of directs you, the stars help a little bit, but in the end it’s still one sprawling expanse of hot tan. The exhaustion and frustration! Hiking through Petra for even 5 hours yesterday, with water, SPF clothing and tennis shoes, mind you, was a lot! I cannot even begin to fathom decades! Distant plateaus must have looked terribly daunting and to avoid them could have meant s significant detour. To top it off, 40 years would mean many deaths. Can you imagine how many people were in mourning? A group in perpetual mourning…in a scorching desert? Miserable! What a strange, uncomfortable time…