I had been warned. Before we arrived in Israel, many people that had already visited said the Bible would come to life. However, I still was not prepared when our tour bus passed by a shepherd herding his sheep.
“Did you see that?” I asked my husband, incredulous. It was as if I was watching the filming of a biblical movie.
Shepherds are mentioned multiple times throughout the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Abraham, Moses, and King David were all shepherds and Jesus even used them as an object lesson for a parable.
Our tour guide explained that in Jordan and some parts of Israel, Bedouins (pronounced BED-o-win) are nomadic people who live in the desert regions and usually herd sheep, goats or camels.
To think that people still live like Abraham and Moses was mind-blowing to me. I was intrigued and wanted to know more.
“They are comparable to your Amish,” said our tour guide, Motasem Sayaheen.
Unlike most Amish, the Bedouins are not opposed to every modern convenience. We saw many that had satellite dishes, electricity and some had a truck.
The more we drove, the more eager I was to see other Bedouins. They were elusive, but their ‘homes’ were not. They usually camp in groups, settlements, and live in tents or temporary shacks. We even saw tents that had UN (United Nations) written on them.
According to our guide, Bedouins live off the land, but they do not own the land. Considering how difficult that would be, I asked how they know where to camp.
“In Jordan, it is considered an honor for the Bedouins to camp on your land,” he said. He explained most Jordanians revere the Bedouins and since their stay is temporary, three to four months, they don’t mind.
Not all Bedouins dressed in traditional clothes, as seen in some pictures, but many do. When we visited in March, it was the end of winter and daytime temperatures were
between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. While we wore t-shirts or light sweaters, the Bedouins wore several layers of clothes, some in winter coats. I guess when the summer brings temperatures up to 120 degrees, 60 would seem cold.
The Bible did indeed ‘come to life’ for me, but in so many more ways than I expected.