Israel Study Tour with Calvin Theological Seminary

January 3-15, 2016

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Exploring God’s creation

We had another wonderful day in Israel, and thank you again for all of your prayers. Our current hotel is overlooking the Dead Sea. It was beautiful seeing the sun rise and all of the colors of the sky as we looked at the Dead Sea this morning. We had a filling breakfast and left the hotel at 8:00.

Our first stop was a look out point over the Dead Sea, giving us an even bigger view. At this look out point Steven and Emily gave a presentation on the Dead Sea.

Dead Sea

Known in the Bible as the “Salt Sea” or the “Sea of the Arabah,” this inland body of water is appropriately named because its high mineral content allows nothing to live in its waters. Other post-biblical names for the Dead Sea include the “Sea of Sodom,” the “Sea of Lot,” the “Sea of Asphalt” and the “Stinking Sea.” In the Crusader period, it was sometimes called the “Devil’s Sea.” All of these names reflect something of the nature of this lake.

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Our next stop was Be’er Sheva. Be’er Sheva is located in Negev, a semi-arid desert in southern Israel. Chris and Adrian gave a presentation on Be’er Sheva. This city is first mentioned in Genesis 21.

The ruins of this city are quite spectacular. There was an altar, an outer gate, a well, the city square, the governor’s palace, residential quarters and so much more. The coolest part was the water system. The water system was a 17 meter deep shaft that we could walk down into, and we walked through old water reservoirs and tunnels.

We took a quick ice cream break and traveled to our next destination.

Beersheba

Beer-Sheva (/bɪərˈʃiːbə/; Hebrew: בְּאֵר שֶׁבַע About this sound Be'er Sheva [beʔeʁˈʃeva]; Arabic: بئر السبع‎‎ About this sound Bi'ir as-Sab [biːr esˈsabeʕ]) is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Often referred to as the "Capital of the Negev", it is the center of the fourth most populous metropolitan area in Israel, the eighth most populous city in Israel with a population of 203,604, and the second largest city with a total of 117,500 dunams (after Jerusalem).

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Our next site was Avdat National Park. This is a canyon in the Negev Desert. Professor Schreiber gave a devotional to help us reflect as we explored this glorious part of God’s creation. The rock formations in this canyon are simply amazing. It was a wonderful hike alongside creeks and pools and waterfalls. This area was simply breathtaking.

We made it back to our hotel close to six. We had a filling dinner, and many of us are already sleeping to get ready for an early morning start tomorrow.

-Peter

Ein Avdat

The Nahal Zin is 75 miles (120 km) long and drains 600 sq. miles (1550 sq. km). It is the largest wadi that begins in the Negev. The Nahal Zin was created by reverse erosion as the great height difference between the Negev Highlands and the Jordan Rift caused the underlayers to erode during the rainy season, resulting in the collapse of the harder strata of rock above. The landscape is mostly Eocene limestone, consisting of some brown-black layers of low-grade flint. The flint slows down the erosion of the limestone.

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