In Jordan, reports are mixed as to just how good relations are between the Muslim majority and the Christian minority. What's clearer is that the stronger divide is between native Jordanians and the many Palestinian refugees. The two locals we spent the most time with, our tour guide and our bus driver, represent both differences.
The Jordan River is too shallow for Michael to row across, and the shore is a stinking pile of sludge. But something redemptive is happening.
Israelis take great interest in archaeology, as findings can validate Jews' ancient claims to the land. Of course, Palestinians have similar claims.
A rabbi and strong advocate for Palestinians’ rights told me this: "When you Christians start talking about divesting from Israel, it sounds to us as if you are undermining Israel’s economy and thus Israel’s existence. We close ranks."
Palestinian parents don’t fret about drugs or drunk drivers. They worry that the Israeli soldiers will use their M-16s.
The Christian population in Israel has begun to swell again, drawing on wholly different sources than in the past.
It is difficult for Jews to talk about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's also difficult for Christians to talk about it with Jews.