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FOUNTAIN OF ELISHA.
drew near we were met by a company of women from a neighbouring village, who had seen the American flag floating from the tents, and hearing that a sultana would arrive, had come to greet the lady of our party (Mrs Prime) with a welcome song. It was truly a remarkable specimen of native melody. They also demanded a backshish, and at the same time insisted upon being admitted to the tent that they might see the unveiled face of their fair sister. Thus gratified, they retired and left us undisturbed for the night.
"In. the morning we walked out to search for traces of ancient Jericho, and discovered the remains of an old fountain and finely-wrought Mosaic pavement, indicating that a city of some magnificence had formerly occupied this site. An old dilapidated ruin is also pointed out as the house of Zaccheus where 'our Saviour abode with him, and brought salvation to his house,' when He passed through Jericho. We then set out to visit the fountain of Elisha, a half hour distant. It bursts forth from underneath a large mound at the base of the mountain, and is a beautiful fountain of sweet and pleasant water. Its stream produces vegetation and flowers in luxuriant abundance as it flows over the plain. Originally the water was quite unfit for domestic purposes or irrigation, causing death and sterility, until the fountain was miraculously healed by the prophet Elisha, who 'went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast salt there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.'
"Thus, according to the word of the Lord, it possesses peculiar virtue in producing vegetation, and spreads
MOUNT OF TEMPTATION.
fertility and verdure over the plain, well-nigh as far as the eye can reach. Indeed, as the waters were bubbling forth, the birds singing in the trees, and many wild-flowers in bloom around, it seemed quite like an earthly paradise. We were then viewing the scene of a perpetual miracle, reaching from the days of Elisha to the present, and yielding to these deadly waters a lifegiving power, to make the barren land bloom with beauty, and rejoice as the garden of the Lord. I could not but feel that it was greatly fitted to confirm and strengthen our faith in the miracles of Scripture history.
"Then we rode along the base of Mount Quarantana, a bold and precipitous peak that rises twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the plain. This is described as the point where Jesus was led up of the Spirit into the wilderness, to be tempted of the devil,' and when He had successfully resisted the assaults of the Evil One, 'behold angels came and ministered unto Him.' The mountain side is filled with grottos and caves cut in the rock, the dwelling-places of pious monks who formerly fled here from the temptations of the world. They found, however, that the old tempter was in this wilderness, still seeking whom he might destroy, and that we must escape the world before we can escape the wiles of the adversary.
"Next we came to a wild rocky ravine that opens through the mountain. Down this the brook Cherith winds its way to the valley, and here the prophet Elijah 'hid himself at the command of the Lord by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.' And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.' We were thus viewing the scene of another miracle of Bible history,
and felt the presence of the God of Elijah beside the waters of the brook Cherith. An old monk has cut his cell high up in the rock, and dwelt there in imitation of the prophet. Ascending thence by an ancient paved road, we reach the mountain summit, and take our last view of the valley of the Jordan, the Dead Sea, and the mountains. round about. On the way, the place is pointed out where 'a certain man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho fell among thieves; and the good Samaritan had compassion on him, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn.' The road here certainly appears as though it had always been infested with thieves and robbers, and on this account was doubtless selected as the scene of the parable. Four armed Bedouins now came suddenly upon us in the pass, and we at first feared the fate of the former traveller. We, however, made the salutation of friendship to them, and they immediately returned it and acted as our guard by the way. Thence we came to Bethany, and crossing the Mount of Olives, entered once more within the Holy City."
FROM JERUSALEM TO DAMASCUS.
MR RIGHTER left Jerusalem March 10, having on the same morning met a number of Christian friends at Bishop Gobat's study, and having persuaded them to form a committee of the Evangelical Alliance, with Bishop Gobat as chairman. He gives the following account of his journey to Damascus :
BEYROUT, April 8, 1856. "From Jerusalem we journeyed northward, and came to Bethel, or house of God, where Jacob saw in his dream a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and beheld the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed . . . And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven And he called the name of that place Bethel.'
"Passing by way of Shiloh, where the ark and tabernacle long continued, we next arrived at Nablous, the ancient Shechem. Near by is Jacob's well, where our Saviour sat wearied with His journey, and as the woman
GERIZIM AND EBAL.
of Samaria came to draw water, He discoursed to her of the water of everlasting life. On the right rises Ebal, the Mount of Cursing, and on the left Gerizim, the Mount of Blessing, whereon the Samaritans built a temple and worshipped God, in opposition to the Jews at Jerusalem. And here the small remnant that is left still go up four times a year to offer sacrifice and worship. They live entirely distinct; and, as of old, 'the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.'
"In the morning we ascended an eminence, and, looking to the east, saw Ramoth-gilead beyond Jordan, where Moses set before the Israelites 'a blessing and a curse,' and charged them to place the blessing upon Mount Gerizim, and the curse upon Mount Ebal. Are they not on the other side Jordan, by the way where the sun goeth down, in the land of the Canaanites?' This Joshua afterwards did, when they entered in to possess the land, placing half of them over against Mount Gerizim, and half of them over against Mount Ebal,' as Moses, the servant of the Lord, had commanded before. And he read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law. And all the people answered Amen.' It was most interesting to view and realise this whole scene, spread out like a picture before us.
"We then journeyed on, and in half an hour came to the hill of Samaria. Here stood Herod's ivory palace, and this sensual monarch reigned in all his ambitious splendour. Here the daughter of Herodias, Herod's brother's wife, danced before him on his birthday, and pleased Herod. Whereupon he promised to give her whatsoever she would ask, even to the half of his king