Story from Day 7

Israel Tour 2019

Today we began our journey at the site of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river. This river is the border between Israel and Jordan and both sides are currently being protected by military presence. While at the river, we read the account of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:13-17. Before getting back on the bus we also stopped to take photos with the Israeli soldiers that are stationed at the site. They were great!

We then continued our journey from Jerusalem all the way south to the Judean Desert. Due to the desert climate and lack of natural resources, this area has been occupied by very few people groups over the last thousands of years. Armies, however, have found it a valuable place to retreat and take refuge.

King Herod used it to build two places, one of which we toured today. We took a cable car to the top of Masada, a mountain peak overlooking the desert and the Dead Sea. This was a significant site for the early Jewish zealots that fled the Roman rule of Jerusalem in 66 a.d. These people found refuge at the then-abandoned city of Masada and lived on top of the mountain for over seven years. If you aren’t familiar with this story, it would be worth googling to find out how the story ended. After walking through the ruins of what would have been elaborate rooms for dining and entertainment, we made our way back down the mountain to visit Ein-Gedi.

Ein-Gedi was a place that had 4 natural springs, which provided agriculture in the midst of this dry land. This was a place talked about by King Solomon and occupied as a refuge by David. 1 Samuel 24 tells the story about Saul hunting David down with 3,000 men in the Ein-Gedi desert. It says that while Saul was relieving himself in a cave, David and his men were far back in the darkness of the cave. We saw that cave today! If you haven’t read this story, you’ve got to check it out!

From Ein-Gedi, we went to see the ruins of the Qumran people. This site is fascinating because it is the place that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. These scrolls of Old Testament texts have proven to be one of the most valuable archaeological finds in history, dating back to 300 B.C. In cave #4, they found an original copy of every Old Testament book except for Ezra, Nehemiah and Ester. Several of the books had several copies. In this cave, the book of Isaiah had 16 different copies, and before this discovery, we had never found a single scroll containing the entire book of Isaiah. Amazing! In case you’re wondering, these ancient manuscripts match word-for-word what we read in our Old Testament today.

We ended our day at the lowest point on Earth — The Dead Sea. This body of water has no living organisms and is known for the mineral salts that come from it. We had a great time floating in the water and covering ourselves with the Dead Sea mud. What a relaxing way to end our day!

Tomorrow is our final day in Israel, and we’ve saved the best for last!

Today we began our journey at the site of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan river. This river is the border between Israel and Jordan and both sides are currently being protected by military presence. While at the river, we read the account of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3:13-17. Before getting back on the bus we also stopped to take photos with the Israeli soldiers that are stationed at the site. They were great!

We then continued our journey from Jerusalem all the way south to the Judean Desert. Due to the desert climate and lack of natural resources, this area has been occupied by very few people groups over the last thousands of years. Armies, however, have found it a valuable place to retreat and take refuge.

King Herod used it to build two places, one of which we toured today. We took a cable car to the top of Masada, a mountain peak overlooking the desert and the Dead Sea. This was a significant site for the early Jewish zealots that fled the Roman rule of Jerusalem in 66 a.d. These people found refuge at the then-abandoned city of Masada and lived on top of the mountain for over seven years. If you aren’t familiar with this story, it would be worth googling to find out how the story ended. After walking through the ruins of what would have been elaborate rooms for dining and entertainment, we made our way back down the mountain to visit Ein-Gedi.

Ein-Gedi was a place that had 4 natural springs, which provided agriculture in the midst of this dry land. This was a place talked about by King Solomon and occupied as a refuge by David. 1 Samuel 24 tells the story about Saul hunting David down with 3,000 men in the Ein-Gedi desert. It says that while Saul was relieving himself in a cave, David and his men were far back in the darkness of the cave. We saw that cave today! If you haven’t read this story, you’ve got to check it out!

From Ein-Gedi, we went to see the ruins of the Qumran people. This site is fascinating because it is the place that the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. These scrolls of Old Testament texts have proven to be one of the most valuable archaeological finds in history, dating back to 300 B.C. In cave #4, they found an original copy of every Old Testament book except for Ezra, Nehemiah and Ester. Several of the books had several copies. In this cave, the book of Isaiah had 16 different copies, and before this discovery, we had never found a single scroll containing the entire book of Isaiah. Amazing! In case you’re wondering, these ancient manuscripts match word-for-word what we read in our Old Testament today.

We ended our day at the lowest point on Earth — The Dead Sea. This body of water has no living organisms and is known for the mineral salts that come from it. We had a great time floating in the water and covering ourselves with the Dead Sea mud. What a relaxing way to end our day!

Tomorrow is our final day in Israel, and we’ve saved the best for last!