June 26, 2012
Mount Nebo is a 1,000m (3,300ft) high mountain located 10km/6 mi NW of Madaba in Jordan, opposite the northern end of the Dead Sea. According to ancient tradition, this is the mountain from which Moses saw the Promised Land before he died.
Because of its connection to Moses, Mt. Nebo has long been an important place of Christian pilgrimage. Excavations led by the Franciscans, who own the site, have uncovered significant remains of the early church and its magnificent Byzantine mosaics. A simple modern shelter dedicated to Moses has been built over them.
Mount Nebo is one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan and it is believed that this is where Moses was buried. The site’s association with the last days of Moses is described in moving words in Deuteromony (34:1-7).
The site’s other name is Pisgah: “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah which is opposite Jericho”. From the mountaintop, which is the highest point in the Moabite range, rising to about 800 meters at its apex, you can admire the dazzling view across the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea, to the rooftops of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.According to the final chapter of Deuteronomy, Mount Nebo is where the Hebrew prophet Moses was given a view of the promised land that God was giving to the Israelites. “And Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho.” On the platform at the summit is a modern sculpture by an Italian artist representing Moses’ staff and Jesus’ words in John 3: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” This sculpture, which has become a symbol for Mount Nebo, is a modern replica of the of the Biblical brazen serpent.
During the Exodus journey God sent plague to kill the rebellious Israelites.
God also instructed Moses to erect a bronze serpent on a pole to stop the plague. All who looked up at the raised serpent survived the plague.
Thus the curative serpent around a pole became the symbol of the pharmacies.