Petrifying Petra!

And so continues the glimpses from my Holy Land journal...

In today's post, we remember setting out for one Smithsonian's "28 Places to See Before you Die", Petra, Jordan.

The road to Petra was like a winter wonderland as you can see in my shot below.  We couldn't go the day before because the snow made the road impassable.

Petra, meaning "stone", was a city carved out of a red rock valley where the water used to run through.

When we started our hike to the Treasury, which was a drizzly walk maybe about 2.5 km long, our tour guide John said, "we must be like an army, walk together and be fast.  We can't keep taking pictures along the way because there might be a flash flood."  Oh we just laughed it off!  (We Filipinos cannot, repeat, cannot stop taking pictures!)

Finally we reached the breathtaking Al Khazneh or The Treasury.  

Once again John said, we should have a group shot "quickly, quickly!".  People weren't taking pictures of the the Treasury thinking there would be time later on but no, he said, "those who can, get the carriage now!" 

Thinking of myself as a tough mountaineer, I simply refused the thought of getting a carriage.  

John said, "we need to go now" (in a slightly higher pitch then his usual).  We started walking back and noticed the rain already starting to form a slight flood rushing towards us.  John then said "Hurry! Hurry" (very frantically).  I hurried.

The rain started to pour harder.

John said "Run! Run!" I asked myself "What? Is he serious???"  Okay I'm obedient, I started running but it felt like my feet were so heavy, like carrying buckets of water and each step just let the water splash in my face and let my 4 layers of clothing get all the more wetter!

I felt quite ridiculous, at the same time like I was in an Indiana Jones movie.  Wow, so exciting!!!  I was not at all concerned for my safety rather I was thinking of the senior citizens in our group who would be slower than I and more vulnerable to the cold.

Just when I was contemplating how I could help them when I could barely move my feet myself, some Bedouin-like men grabbed us (rather roughly) onto a cave on a ledge. They urged us to clamber onto a rock which was somewhat my shoulder height.  

I motioned to them, asking if the water went that high?  And they nodded.  Uh oh.

Minutes passed and our group huddled in the cave, our usual noisy chatter silenced.

Then we were motioned to "Go, go!" One by one, out we went to the rushing water which was around almost knee high by now (with a strong current).  We were told to hold each other but I couldn't reach the man behind me and I felt I would fall if I tried to break away from the person in front of me so... on I went.

After just a few moments of walking slowly, carefully through the water rushing towards us, we stepped up onto a side ledge that seemed to appear out of nowhere (I mean I hadn't noticed it all before when we were passing here before).

I saw this waterfall up ahead and thought of how it just naturally had to bring in more and more water!

Here's our little team hurrying as fast as we can back to safety over the ledge.

At this point I thought of how this valley was actually formed by water.  Everything was under water here before. I looked up and pictured myself doing some slippery rock climbing... yes I could do that but what about my group mates?

Three police cars came to do the rescuing.  I was able to get out more quickly than the others so they didn't pick me up anymore.  What a harrowing experience.  Our tour bus was full of cold, wet tourists and some started sniffing and coughing afterwards but I know everything has a purpose.  

Just today (several weeks after this experience), Petra suddenly came to mind.  I was reflecting about God's love and how limitless, boundless, infinite and immeasurable it is.  Words cannot describe God's love for us.  I pictured the water flowing towards me as God's love.  It was so powerful and when I experience it, I can be afraid and try to say "stop Lord, I feel it already, I don't want to cry".

The waters are also a form of cleansing for us.  When God washes us, it's not with a few drops of water, He washes us until we are white as snow.  He is blind to our failings and forgive us more than we forgive ourselves.

God doesn't want us to limit the flow of His grace.  It's like a cup that you just keep pouring into from an open faucet.  Water will overflow and not stop and cause a flood.  There is a flood in my heart today remembering Petra.  A flood recalling God's amazing love.  I will not limit You Lord, I won't be afraid to experience the height, depth, of Your great love for me.

I pray this prayer for you...

From Ephesians 3: 17-19 "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."

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Calej lives in Japan with her husband. She designs and doodles for a living.


  1. I enjoyed your photographs. The first one reminds me of a place I once read about in a novel.

  2. Liked the photos...glad everyone came out safe and well. scary..

  3. lovely photos ~ sounds like a wonderful trip and love your illustration ~ Enjoy ^_^

  4. Lovely photos, very interesting! Pretty illustration!

  5. Wow - what an experience. I felt cold and wet as I read it aloud to my husband. We were to go there last year, but "were prevented from doing so".

    Thank you for linking to Sunday Stillness.

    Many blessings,

  6. Welcome to SS! Beautiful photos and lovely illustration. Love the shades of blue.

  7. I enjoyed your pictures and story, especially the verse you shared. What a blessing to know God's love! Your painting is very pretty and expresses your post so well! I would love to follow you, but I couldn't figure out how? Have a wonderful day!

  8. What a wonderful the pics, thanks for sharing...


  9. I am late getting here from Sunday Sketches but so glad I finally did because the photos from your trip are amazing... and i love your drawing as well... loved my visit...xx

  10. Beautiful pictures, seems to be an interesting trip. Lovely illustration. Enjoy your week!


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