The “they” in question are the six million citizens and refugees who make their home in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. In a region known for an unrelenting string of conflicts, Jordan lives in the eye of the storm. For nearly 40 years, Jordanians have provided a peaceful buffer between warring countries, even earning another nickname, “The Hashemite Kingdom of Boredom,” where boredom is a euphemism for unconflicted.
Jordanians treasure that boredom.
The Jordan of today markets itself as “The Other Holy Land.” Christian pilgrims touring there visit Bethany-Beyond-Jordan, the probable site of John the Baptist’s ministry and, alongside it, Elijah’s hill, where the prophet is believed to have ascended in the whirlwind, as a fiery chariot separated him from his protégé, Elisha. A half-hour away stands Mt. Nebo, where Moses peered over the Promised Land, including the Dead Sea and nearby Jericho, before dying.
A couple hours’ drive north travelers visit the scenic Umm Qais, the ancient village overlooking the Sea of Galilee, where the Gadarene demoniac found spiritual freedom at the cost of a herd of swine. One crosses the River Jabbok en route, where Jacob wrestled with the angel of the Lord. Also, along that journey one can visit Jerash, one of the cities of the Decapolis, whose ruins comprise one of the largest extant Roman cities from antiquity.
Heading south from Amman one travels through the land of Moab – through which the children of Israel journeyed with Moses, and where Ruth and Naomi lived. All the way south in Aqaba, on the north shore of the Red Sea, are recently discovered ruins. They may be remnants of the oldest church building, dating to the second century C.E. Along that route one can visit the ancient city of Petra — carved into cliffs and made famous by the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark — and Wadi Rum, the desert remembered for the military leadership of T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia. Along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea one can visit the cave of Lot, and there speculate about the locations of Sodom, Gomorrah and Lot’s wife-turned-pillar-of-salt.
For those wishing to visit places of such Biblical significance, Jordan offers a pristine view – few signs of commercialization by its holy sites. And, it opens its arms with assurance that theirs is one of the safest, most peaceful places to visit on any continent.