DAY 5 – THURSDAY, JULY 16:
Today was another predictable sunny and warm day, with high temps along the Dead Sea was a dry 105 (cooler this afternoon as we headed north). After checking out of our hotel in Ein Bokek (Dead Sea resort area), our first stop was Engedi. Here we read from Song of Songs 1 (“henna blossoms of Engedi…”), 2 Chronicles 20 (“Ascent of Ziz”) and 1 Samuel 24 (Saul and David’s “cave encounter”). We hiked back to the tall third falls, enjoying the water as we went.
Continuing north along the western shore of the Dead Sea, our next stop was Qumran. The Dead Sea Scrolls were written and preserved here in 11 caves. We saw the archaeological site as well as read from Psalm 19 and “Psalm 151” (an extra psalm found here). We also drove along the cliff area and hiked to Cave 11 (where the famous “Temple Scroll” was found). It was neat to literally in one of the caves where the scrolls were found.
Jericho was our next visit. First, we visited the site. We could look east across the Jordan River and see Mt. Nebo. We also saw the oldest stone tower to be found as well as the double wall of the city. It was on top of the stone revetment wall where a mud-brick wall was placed. It is this part of the wall that “came tumblin’ down.” We rejoiced in the historicity of the Bible! Following the visit of the site, we enjoyed lunch here.
Ascending west towards Jerusalem, we made a brief stop overlooking the Wadi Qelt and the Judean Desert. We read from Isaiah 40 and heard Shlomo sing Psalm 23 in Hebrew. The view was spectacular!
Driving north through the Samaritan mountains, we finally came to Shiloh. The Ark of the Covenant was here for 369 years. We visited the site as well as saw a great presentation of the stories related to Shiloh. We read from I Samuel 3 and Jeremiah 7.
We ended the day by driving almost two hours north through the hill country of Ephraim. On the way we saw a many sheep and goats grazing on the hillsides as well as four gazelles.
We finally reach the Sea of Galilee (the “Kinneret”) and Nof Ginnosar, our “home” for the next three nights. We enjoyed dinner together as well as a brief gathering out on the water’s edge, enjoying a beautiful evening! It was another great day!
DAY 6 – FRIDAY, JULY 17: ARBEL, MAGDALA, CHORAZIM, CAPERNAUM, SEA OF GALILEE BOAT RIDE, YARDENIT, MT. OF BEATITUDES