DAY 5 – FRIDAY, JANUARY 20: MASADA, EIN GEDI, JERICHO, DEAD SEA

 

We enjoyed a sunny day once again today as we travels took us up the coastline of the Dead Sea. The temperatures were a bit warmer, with highs in the mid 70s. We read from Psalm 18:1-2 (metzada) following breakfast and checking out of our Bedouin camp.

 

Masada

We drove east about 7 miles to get to the western side of Masada, a palace-fortress built by King Herod in the 30s BC. Everyone in the group hiked up the Roman ramp, including Victoria in the Luke 5 Adventure wheelchair! The team of those transporting her are amazing! This has to be a first ever in Israel that someone scaled Masada in this fashion! Upon cresting the site saw the the casemate wall, huge cisterns, the synagogue, the northern palace, storehouses, and the bathhouse. Since the cable car is being renovated, we all walked back down the Roman ramp. The courageous story of Masada (with 967 using the site as a place of refuge) is both incredible and inspiring!

 

Ein Gedi

From here we drove back through the desert to Arad and then down to the southern end of the Dead Sea. The rest of the took us northward on the Rt. 90 along the western shoreline of the Dead Sea to Ein Gedi. Together we walked into the canyon (Wadi David) where we stopped to read from Song of Songs 1 (mentioning the henna blossoms), 2 Chronicles 20 (mentioning the Ascent of Ziz), and 1 Samuel 24 (the David and Saul “cave encounter”). About half the group walked back to the far water falls while others enjoyed the first falls.

 
“We loved being in the Judean Desert today! What a unique region of the land! There is so much beauty to be seen in this rugged and rocky place. The biblical connections kept on coming too. See where David hid from Saul and standing next to the walls of Jericho was incredible!”
Dead Sea Float Jan 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jericho

We boarded our busses once again to drove to the northern end of the Dead Sea. As we drove we read from Ezekiel 47 and Zechariah 14 (about how one day the Dead Sea will become fresh). We arrived at Tel es-Sultan, or Old Testament Jericho. After a wonderful falafel sandwich here, we climbed the site. We looked east and could see the Jordan Valley the Mt. Nebo on the ridge on the horizon (Dt. 34). Elijah was taken to heaven in the area across the river (2 Kings 2). Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River at “Bethany Beyond the Jordan” (John 1). Looking south we could see the area of NT Jericho (where Zachaeus and Bartimeaus lived, and where Herod the Great died in 4 BC). We then turned our attention to the ancient OT site of Jericho. The archaeology of this ancient site of Jericho supports and confirms the Bible’s historicity. Besides seeing the oldest structure (a round tower) in Israel, on the southern end we saw the double retaining walls of this Canaanite city taken my Joshua (Joshua 6). A mud brick wall once stood on top of these stone walls. They came tumblin down.

 

Dead Sea

Our last experience of the day was to float in the Dead Sea. We enjoy floating in this unique body of water (33% salt and minerals). We drove to our “kibbutz-hotel” (Al Mog) close by for dinner and overnight.

 

DAY 6 – SATURDAY, JANUARY 21: QUMRAN, BETH SHEAN, MEGIDDO, NAZARETH RIDGE, GALILEE

Masada Jan 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Ein Gedi Jan 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Ein Gedi Jan 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey
Jericho Jan 23 Israel Tour John DeLancey

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