Housed in a small white domed building in Wadi Musa is ‘Ain Musa, the spring where Moses struck water from a rock for the Israelites as they passed through en route to the Promised Land.
Inside the rectangular room is the large rock from which the water gushed forth thousands of years ago. Today bricks have been built around it, and around most of the spring, allowing easier access to the water. Walking across the brick floor, you can watch the water flow through the center of the room and out the building. In the middle of the room is an eight foot wide well where you can dip into the spring and drink the water.
Our guide insisted that the water was safe to drink, and proceeded to pour out our bottled water to fill it with Moses' well water. I knelt down near the mouth of the spring coming from the rock, cupped my hand into the water, and drank. It tasted cool, clean and refreshing.
But unfortunately it wasn't as safe as I'd hoped. Within a couple of days I was sick for the rest of the trip (and a couple of weeks back in the states...despite a double dose of antibiotics). Although tempting, don't drink the water!
Ain Musa is a perpetual spring, and was channeled by Nabataeans all the way to Petra, five kilometers away. The water channels that carried this spring water to the Nabataean capital are first seen in the Siq, along the canyon walls.
After visiting Ain Musa, our guide drove us to another water supply near Al-Beidha. We parked at the base of a large sandstone mountain and saw a small opening about fifteen feet up the side of the rock. Modern cement stairs accessed the small four foot hole. Donkeys, sheep and goats greeted us as we climbed the steps. Peering inside the dark cave, a huge hole, enormous and deep, became visible. Water was somewhere at the bottom of this massive cistern. I couldn't see the water, but could hear sounds down below.
Suddenly a bedouin woman appeared from the depths, precariously balancing herself against slippery surfaces as she struggled to climb to the top, her newly acquired water splashing out of plastic gasoline jugs as she ascended. The look of surprise and alarm must've shown on my face, because she laughed when she saw me. I watched in amazement at the effort involved in gathering water for her family...foremost climbing into that dangerous cistern, then fetching water in plastic gasoline jugs before transferring the water into capped containers, and loading the water onto donkeys before walking who knows how far to her home or village. I was full of questions but had no way of asking as our communication was limited to facial expressions and gestures. I pondered the everyday life of this bedouin woman, unchanged for centuries, and couldn't help but have respect and admiration for her.