On the 28th of March, 2014, Friends of the Earth Middle East concluded its 2nd visit to the Jordan Valley titled: “Crossing the Jordan Tour: Partnering in Good Faith towards the Rehabilitation of the Jordan River”
The Tour is part of a campaign launched by FoEME that aims at drawing attention to the degraded status of the Jordan River. A River Holy in three Abrahamic religions and recognized for its cultural and spiritual value is in a state of decline due to excessive diversion of its waters and pollution by its neighboring countries.
Crossing the Jordan tour is intended to garner support of religious figures in advocating for the rehabilitation of the Jordan River in their congregations. To this end, close to one hundred Christian teachers and clergy were given a full-day experiential tour and group learning focused on the Jordan River. They traveled to several sites along the Eastern bank of the Lower Jordan River and explored the River’s current condition and the rich cultural and religious significance that the Jordan holds for Christians.
The Mouth of the Jordan River i.e., the rivers meeting point with the Dead Sea, drew the visitors attention the falling levels of the River causing the ultimate shrinkage of the Dead Sea. Another closer encounter with the River was at the Bethany Beyond Jordan Baptism Site whereby Ms Yana Abu Taleb FoEMEs Assistant Director, Anwar Abu Hamour, Government Relations Officer, and Ms., Hana Al Assad, Good Water Neighbours Coordinator at the Amman office gave extensive explanations about the value of the River in Christian Faith and FoEMEs efforts towards it Rehabilitation.
The group then engaged in discussions related to the environmental, cultural, and historical value of the Lower Jordan River moderated by his Excellency Mr., Ghazi Musharbash. Prayers and Hymns were recited in both Arabic and Syriac; a dialect of Aramaic which is the native language of Jesus Christ. Soon after, the visitors concluded their tour at the Sharhabil Ben Hassneh Ecological Park where they were briefed about the importance of the park as an educational hub for promoting best environmental practices and its value to the surrounding local communities by Mr., Othman Tawalbeh, SHEecopark Manager then headed back to Amman filled with knowledge, hope and determination to restore the River back to its original status.
This post is contributed by Samar M. Salma FoEMEs Media Officer/ PR, & Projects Coordinator at the Amman Office.