DAY 4 – THURSDAY, OCTOBER 29: BEERSHEBA, SDE BOKER, WILDERNESS OF ZIN, ARAD, JUDEAN DESERT
Today was another great day. The weather was perfect, with sun and temps around the low 70s. After breakfast, we checked out of our hotel and drove a short distance to Tel Beersheba. We visited the archaeological ruins, most of them dating to the 10th century BC. We read from Genesis 21 about Abraham and the “well treaty” he made. We also celebrated that God is our “Good Shepherd” who continues to “overflow” us with His goodness (Psalm 23). At the site, we saw another chambered gate, “4-room Israelite houses,” and an impressive cistern system.
Driving south in the Negev, we visited Ben Gurion’s tomb at Sde Boker. He was the first Prime Minister of Israel. The tomb overlooks the Wilderness of Zin. We also saw ibex (wild goats) here (Psalm 104). Driving down into the canyon, we then hiked into the canyon to the water falls. It is such a beautiful and unique place. Some even hiked up to the opposite rim of the canyon. Lunch followed at Avdat, a rest area near by.
From here we continued driving south another 25 kilometers to the Machtesh Ramon, Israel’s “grand canyon.” This place is really a geological wonder.
Driving back north to the northeastern area of the Negev, our last site of the day was Arad. Here was saw the “Early Bronze/Canaanite” city below as well as the Israelite “citadel” ruins on the highest part of the tel. We read from Numbers 21 (about the King of Arad opposing the advancement of Moses and the Isaelites) and 2 Chronicles 34 (about Josiah’s reforms). We saw the “false temple” built here. We also considered how God wants us to be a “living sacrifice” unto Him (Romans 12:1-2).
Driving into the Judean Desert, we arrived at Hanokdim, a “Bedouin village.” Here we camels, listened to a Bedouin man speak about his lifestyle, and enjoyed dinner together. After eating, we enjoyed a time of reflection and worship under the stars and full moon. We then settled into our one big tent, hoping for a good night’s sleep. J
DAY 5 – FRIDAY, OCTOBER 30: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, DEAD SEA
(REGIONS to study: Judean Desert, Dead Sea)