DAY 4 – TUESDAY, MARCH 17
Most of us woke up early prior to the sunrise. Sleeping all together in the tent was a unique and fun experience! Following a wonderful sunrise and breakfast, we drove just 5 miles east to Masada (metzada in Hebrew – “fortress.” Most of the group walked up the Roman ramp, while others bussed around to the east side and ascended to the top in a cable car. We saw cisterns, palaces, the synagogue, and a roman bath. About a third of the group hiked down the Snake Path.
Driving north on another beautiful day (sunny and 75-80) along the Dead Sea, our next stop was Engedi. Here we read from 1 Samuel (as well as from Songs of Songs 1 and 2 Chr 20) about David and Saul’s encounter in the cave. We hiked back past the first falls, enjoying the beauty of this amazing spring-oasis in this “dry and weary land“ (Psalm 61).
Qumran was next. After eating lunch, we visited the site. It was here where the Essenses wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls. We saw a scriptorium, many ritual baths (miqvot) and from a distance a few of the caves. We celebrated the remarkable preservation of God’s Word.
Nearby was the Dead Sea. We drove to the beach where most in the group enjoyed “floating” in this 30-33% salt/mineral water. It was a fun experience.
Our last stop was Jericho. Here we looked across the Jordan River where we could see Mt Nebo (where Moses viewed the Promise Land). It was also in the area of “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (John 1) where Jesus was baptized. We also talked about the Joshua 6 story and saw the “retaining walls” that supported the mud brick wall. It was this mud brick wall that came tumbling down!
From here we drove 2 hours to Nof Ginnosar, a kibbutz-hotel for the next three nights. Following dinner we enjoyed an optional gathering out on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee.
DAY 5– WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18
We plan to visit the Golan Heights and the sites of Gamla, Katzrin, Ben Tal, Caesarea Philippi, Dan and Abel Beit Maacah.