Israel Study Tour with The Kings University

October 27 - November 8, 2016

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Living Water

Day 5 started out with the usual fabulous Israeli breakfast. We then checked out of the hotel across from the southern Dead Sea, and traveled toward En-Gedi, which is across from the northern Dead Sea. This city is where David cut off the corner of Saul's garment.

We hiked up the rocky pathway, crossed over a small stream, and continued higher and higher to an incredible waterfall hidden away in the rocks. For me, this was a bit difficult to get up to this area, because of an injury to my hip. Many men came to my rescue, and graciously supported me by carrying my backpack, and even lifting me up the steps in the particularly rugged segments along the path. All the while, I was very aware of how amazing our community of believers is -- that the stronger brothers and sisters support the weaker ones.

While taking in the beauty of the waterfall, we listened to Rod's teaching about the "streams in the desert", "the Living Water" of Yeshua, and the reference in Genesis 1 to the "Ruach hovering over the waters". We discussed the traditions at the Feast of Tabernacles, when the high priests would fill pitchers of living water from the Pool of Siloam, carry them up to the Temple and pour the water all over the altar. On the final day of the Feast, the eighth day, there was even more water poured out, and greater celebrations of marching around the altar. It was on this day of the feast that Yeshua announced himself loudly to the crowd, saying that He was the living water that would never run dry.

Ein Gedi

En Gedi is the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea. The springs here have allowed nearly continuous inhabitation of the site since the Chalcolithic period. The area was allotted to the tribe of Judah, and was famous in the time of Solomon (Josh 15:62). Today the Israeli kibbutz of En Gedi sits along the southern bank of the Nahal Arugot.

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Rod pointed out that many pastors try to "be" that living water to their congregations. We need to realize that we humans can only be a tiny little stream of living water, but it is only through Yeshua that we have any living water to offer. Each one of us was on this mountaintop today because of the living water poured into our lives by others who had drunk from the Source of Living Water. I looked around at the many people who had helped me up the pathway, literally making it possible for me to share in this experience. Gratitude welled up inside me, and I was filled with awe and wonder about the amazing God we serve.

These same wonderful brothers made sure that I got down the pathway, safely back to the bus. The next stop was the hidden waterfall of David, at Aliyah B'nai Hamoshavim (The Ascent of the Sons of Hamoshavim). My gimpy leg held me back from making the trip because it was far more treacherous than this first hike. I stayed in En-Gedi, and took lots of pictures of the amazing botanical gardens -- truly an oasis in the desert.

A few others of our team had to stay on the bus, while the stronger ones made the trek. Those who went on the hike reported back to me that this pathway led to an area that looked very much like the area where we had already been, only considerably larger. I was moved to tears when I learned that my strong-armed supporters who had walked me along the previous path had prayed for us weaker ones when they got to the top. They jumped into the waterfall, and let the Living Water pour all over them, as they prayed for us weaker ones to be filled with this Living Water even though we could not experience the waterfall. There it is again, another wonderful example of the power of being community-minded believers.

After lunch, we headed to Qumran. What an experience that was! Qumran was a desert community of the Essenes, who were widely known for making pottery that was unique to their group of people. The Essenes were fully committed to copying the Torah to pass it on to generations of the future. They believed that they must make a pathway for the Messiah to come. These committed believers left the wealth and comfort of their homes to live in Qumran for two to three years of service. They did a mikvah (ritual bath in living water) before every activity throughout the day. They practiced repentance and total commitment to God, while they hand-copied the holy Scriptures for future generations. The Qumran community began awhile before Yeshua's ministry, and ended about 70 AD because of the Roman occupation. When they knew that the Romans were coming to their area, the Essenes carefully tucked their scrolls into their unique pottery jars, and hid them in caves. Only a few decades ago, these pottery jars were discovered in the caves, and the scrolls were removed for examination. We have the Essenes to thank for the greatest discovery of all time, the "Dead Sea Scrolls" which include scrolls of every single book of the Hebrew Bible.

Qumran

10 miles south of Jericho, Qumran was on a “dead-end street” and provided a perfect location for the isolationist sect of the Essenes to live.

The site was excavated by Catholic priest Roland deVaux from 1953-56. More recent excavations of the site have taken place under the direction of Hanan Eshel.

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One incredible thing happened when we first arrived at Qumran. This region only gets limited rain, just twice a year. Suddenly, it began to rain, but not very long. And a double rainbow appeared in the sky right where we were gathering to hear our teaching. It was an amazing communication from God to us, that He was pleased with us, and made His presence known!

It was an altogether amazing day, and I look forward to the upcoming experiences that He has planned for us!

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