Thursday, April 16, 2020

Israel Day 7

Today our adventures took us to the Qumran Caves, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

Next, we floated in the Dead Sea. Floating in the sea was so much fun. We slathered ourselves in mud and enjoyed the spa time. My roommate for the trip, Melissa, got down to the area to float before I did, but she waited for me to get in. That gesture meant so much to me and still does.

Then, we went to Masada. This is an ancient fortress that overlooks the Dead Sea. It towers 1,424 feet above the level of the Dead Sea. It has a summit area of about 18 acres. It is a place rich in history and vast with views. Excavations have uncovered palaces, store houses, a synagogue, and more. Fragments of biblical text were found here during excavations. We had a moment to observe a scribe while exploring, it was amazing to witness. We rode a cable car to the top that made me a little nervous, if you asked Trey, he might say more than a little. The saying what goes up, must come down is true, we hiked down this massive fortress, which made the cable car a piece of cake. It was a steep, long hike.

After surviving the hike down, we had dinner with the Bedouins, a group of nomadic tribes who live in the Negev Desert. They served us dinner and then we were invited into a tent, served coffee, and heard a story.

On our drive back to our hotel we had the blessing of making a stop at Gidon and Devra's home in Maale Chever. They have a view of the Judaean Desert in their backyard!! It is in this view that G-d spoke to Abraham saying, look around this is the land I am promising you. Lot lived in this area. David from the tribe of Judah would been through here when running from his enemies. It is likely David penned a few Psalms while hiding in caves in this desert. There was also a leader of the Jewish revolt about the year 150, who established his head quarters in this area and letters were found that were written by him. I enjoyed hearing Gidon passionately share his knowledge and love of the land while standing on his patio. The home of my friends is modern and beautiful, but the view is historical and breath taking.

It was a very good and exhausting day.

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