Masada (from the west)

Masada (from the west)

Today was a hot day, with sunny skies and temps around 105-110. But it was a great day, starting with Masada. After breakfast (and a great sunrise to the east), we loaded up the bus and drove 15 minutes east to this huge palace/fortress built by Herod. We read Psalm 18:1-2 along the way (God is our fortress – “metzada”). Many walked up the Roman ramp, while others bussed around to the other side and rode the cable car to the top. Shlomo shared the “Masada” story with passion. We visited the southern cistern and palace, the western casemate rooms, the synagogue, and the bathhouses. 11 in the group walked down the Snake Path (before it closed due to the extreme heat).



Driving 15 minutes north along the western coastline of the Dead Sea (reading Ezekiel 47 on the way), our next stop as Engedi. We read from Song of Solomon 1, 2 Chronicles 20, and 1 Samuel 24. We could picture this last narrative (David and Saul in the cave together) since this area is filled with caves. We hiked back to the second water falls, with a few enjoying getting refreshingly wet. To see all this water in the middle of the desert was remarkable.

Continuing north, we visited Qumran. Following lunch here, we visited the ruins here. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found here in 1947 (and later), miraculously preserving the Word of God in written form. The Essenses were the scribes of these scrolls. Overlooking “cave 4,” we read from 2 Timothy 3:16, Psalm 19, and even the “extra” psalm found here, “Psalm 151.” Before leaving, we also drove over to the northern cliff area where we hiked to “cave 11” (where the Temple Scroll was found). It as a unique experience to actually go into one of these Qumran caves.

Jericho's walls

Jericho’s walls

Jericho was our next stop. We climbed the “tel” and reviewed the many stories that happened here as recorded in the Bible. Here we saw the actual revetment (retaining) walls of this double-walled city conquered by Joshua (Joshua 6). It was on top of these walls that the mud-brick wall was built, the part of the wall that “came tumblin’ down.” Thank God for the historicity of His Word!

We ended the day to the Dead Sea. Many enjoyed floating this mineral/salt water. It’s impossible to sink!

From here we drove nearly two hours to Netanya, an Israeli city located on the Med coastline. So ascending from Jericho 4,000 feet to and Jerusalem, and then descending westward towards the coast, we arrived at out hotel for a late “erev Shabbat” (“evening of the Sabbath”) dinner. It was a great meal!


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