Saturday was another busy and physically exhausting day as we left the Dead Sea and headed to Jerusalem. Our stops along the way included:
Masada – Masada is a large fortress and palace built by King Herod as a sort of “doomsday shelter” in case there was any trouble in his palace in Jerusalem. It also served as the last Jewish refuge during the Roman conquering of Israel in 70 AD. It’s built on the top of a mesa in the desert, close to the Dead Sea. You can access it by climbing up the Snake Path, or by taking the cable car. The Snake Path is a challenging vertical climb that winds its way back and forth up the side of the mountain and 13 of us chose to take that route. (I only have pictures from the climb, because that’s where I was, but others in the group were getting a tour from Elin while we were huffing and puffing our way up the mountain). Once everyone reached the top, we met with the rest of the group and joined the rest of the tour. We saw a few more sights at the top of Masada before everyone headed back down by cable car.
Ein Gedi – Next, we went to Ein Gedi, (Hebrew for Goat Spring). It’s believed that this is where David hid from Saul in the desert when he was fleeing from him. Amazingly, there is a large rock spring waterfall at the top of the hike up the cavern. Everyone walked to the Lower Falls, and about 2/3 of us continued on to the upper falls, which was a sight not to miss. We had beautiful views of the Dead Sea as we went back down the mountain as well.
Qumran – Our final stop before heading to Jerusalem was Qumran, where we had lunch and then a teaching on the Essenes who lived in the desert as an isolated Jewish sect. We were able to see the cave that contained the first of the Dead Sea Scrolls. We had a reading from Daniel 9 and Isaiah 53, which Jews long believed were added by Christians after Jesus. Because they were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, we can know that these two books were prophetic from before the time of Jesus. The readings were a powerful moment for many of us.
Arrival in Jerusalem – We arrived in the City of the Great King, met Levya, our Shoresh Tour Coordinator and got settled into our rooms.
Another packed but wonderful day in Israel! Sunday is a low key day, programming-wise, so there will be less to report! Thank you for your continued prayers for healing from illnesses. We have a number of folks not operating at 100%.