I love to breathe where Gilead sheds her balm;
I love to walk on Jordan's banks of palm;
I love to wet my foot in Herman's dews;
I love the promptings of Isaiah's muse;
In Carmel's holy grots I'll court repose,
And deck my mossy couch with Sharon's deathless rose.
- J. PIERPONT.
Principal of Shenandoah Collegiate Institute and School of Music
In profound gratitude, this little volume is dedicated to the
memory of William Barakat of Jerusalem.
My faithful, careful dragoman, who in manhood's prime, yet not
many months before his death, guided me in safety, not only during
my trying "Three Days in Gilead," but also throughout an extended
tour otherwhere in his native land - the Holy Land of my faith.
At last, after waiting twenty leaden-winged years from the time in
which a fixed purpose was formed in me to visit the Orient, the
realization came. The year that saw the fulfillment of my
cherished ambition was definitely determined upon eight summers
before it took its place in the calendar of history. Fortune
smiled upon my plan. I was ready. My joy was akin to ecstasy.
Imagine my disappointment when, in the month of May of my chosen
year, 1900, I learned that no agency would organize a tourist
party to move at a time in the summer or autumn that would suit
me! There was but one alternative - to travel independent of any
organization. This I would do. The decision to do so brought
instant and happy relief.
At no time in my period of absence of five months did I meet a
single former acquaintance. I planned every move, and held myself
in every way responsible for results. The experience I thus gained
in the many countries visited I value highly. Not infrequently I
found myself in trying situations; but all ended well. To-day, in
my inventory of life's rich and helpful experiences, though it
were possible for me to do it, I would not eliminate one of these.
It was a kind Providence that denied me the luxury of a place in a
modern "personally conducted" tourist party.
A few articles descriptive of certain experiences have been
written by me for publication. Some themes I have presented on the
lecture platform a few hundred times. My auditors, universally,
have been kind in their criticisms. Many have been the requests
that I write a volume reciting the story of my travels. In
response I have steadily refused. Many books on travel have
appeared in recent years, possibly too many; but I have seen very
little that has been written about the trans-Jordanic highlands.
And it is not strange, for, though multitudes of tourists annually
visit Palestine, not one person out of a thousand of them ever
goes east of the Jordan. And is it worth while? We shall see.
On my trip I tried to identify no biblical site; I tried to locate
no city of antiquity; I dug into no mound; I disturbed no ruin.
All this I left to the geographer, the historian, and the
archaeologist who had preceded me, or who should come after me.
True, with the help of my Bible, map, guide-book, and guide, I
formed opinions, and was happy in the fitness of some of them;
but, in the main, I was content to rest in the conclusions reached
by those who had studied scientifically and reverently every hill
and valley and ruin in this neglected region.