The Mount of Temptation, with a gravity-defying monastery clinging to its sheer face, is traditionally regarded as the mountain on which Christ was tempted by the devil during his 40-day fast.
The summit of the mount, about 360 metres above sea level, offers a spectacular panoramic view of the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea and the mountains of Moab and Gilead. You must remember that the Jordan River is well below sea level, so the actual height is much higher in appearance.
The Mount of Temptation is about 5km north-west of Jericho. Access to the summit is by a 30-minute trek up a steep path — passing through the cliffhanging monastery on the way — or by a 5-minute cable car ride from Tel Jericho.
Unlike some Greek Orthodox monasteries, the Monastery of the Temptation allows women visitors as well as men. The monastery can be seen in the above photo on the left hand side.
The mountain is also known as Mount Quarantania and Jebel Quarantul. Both names arise from a mispronunciation of the Latin word Quarentena, meaning 40, the number of days in Christ’s fast. This period of fasting became the model for the practice of Lent in Christian churches.
Temptations on the mount
The Temptations took place just after Jesus was baptised in the Jordan River which is traditionally said to be near Jericho.
As recorded in the Gospels of Matthew (4:1-11) and Luke (4:1-13) — and fleetingly in Mark (1:12-13) — the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the desert. While he fasted, the devil tempted him three times to prove his divinity by demonstrating his supernatural powers.
Each time, Jesus rebuffed the tempter with a quotation from the Book of Deuteronomy. Then the devil left and angels brought food to Jesus, who was famished.
Tradition dating from the 12th century places two of the devil’s temptings on the Mount of Temptation.
The temptation to turn a stone into bread is located in a grotto halfway up the mountain. The offer of all the kingdoms of the world in return for worshipping the devil is located on the summit.
For more information about Jericho
- 2014-04-04 – Galilee to Jerusalem via Jericho
- Jericho – Archaeological Digs
- Jericho – Elisha Springs Fountain
- Jericho – Fruit and Veg Shop
- Jericho – Sycamore Tree
- Jericho – Temptation Mount