DAY 8 – MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
Following what was an “interesting” night (believe it or not, we had a wolf howling right outside our tent complex a few times, with dogs barking, etc…) we enjoyed breakfast together before loading the bus, leaving the camels and bedouins behind, and driving to the Aqaba/Elat border. It would be another sunny day, with expected warmer temps in the 90s.
It took us about 1 hour and 15 minutes to get to the Rabin Border into Israel. We said goodbye to our Sam, our Jordanian guide. Procedures were pretty straight forward, with only a slight delay on the Israeli side. Meeting David and our bus on the other side, we drove into Elat to a natural park beach where we enjoyed swimming and snorkeling in the beautiful Red Sea. The underwater colors of the fish and coral were amazing. We spent about an hour and a half here. Once again, David supplied us with snacks.
With Shlomo now with us (he drove down from Jerusalem this morning), we drove north to Timnah. This was an ancient copper mine used by the Egyptians in the 13-12th centuries BC. It also has been suggest that biblical figures such as Moses, Solomon, and others were also were familiar with the mining that took place here (Dt. 8:9, Job 28:2, and Ez. 22:20). Here we saw a brief movie about the Egyptians mining of copper here. But the highlight here was walking through a full-size replica of the Tabernacle. We were led by Allison, a local Messianic believer. She shared the many Christocentric connections between the Tabernacle and how Christ came to fulfill it. We read from Hebrews 9.
After a nice lunch stop at Yovatah, a dairy-kibbutz located just north of Timnah (we enjoyed some good ice cream!), we drove about 2 hours to the Dead Sea. Checking in to our hotel in Ein Bokek, most of us enjoyed the wild sensation of floating in this mineral & salt-rich water (33% salt!). It was a great way to end the day as the sun set on the Jordanian mountains across the sea.
We then enjoyed a free evening, with a leisurely dinner at the hotel.
DAY 9 – TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27: MASADA, EIN GEDI, QUMRAN, JERICHO, WILDERNESS OF JUDAH