In today’s reading, Moses looks down on the Promised Land from Mount Nebo. In the past, I imagine him standing on a little hill looking over a green and pleasant land, beyond a good sized river.
Yet when one stands on Mount Nebo, the view in reality is intensely forbidding. There is no green: just a vast view of burning desert. One looks down from a great height over the Dead Sea and the Jordan is only a distant trickle. The mountains, white, yellow, bakingly hot and dry, rise out of the heat, haze before you.
But the vision of Moses is all the more profound for this. His imagination must have stared beyond what befell his eyes in to the future when his people would make a garden beyond this desert.