Day 3 was awesome in so many ways, and it is so cool to see the way God can take so many different lessons and locations and weave them all together to give us one thing to reflect on.
The bodies of water in Israel are a major theme in the Scriptures and have much to teach us.
We began our day on the beach of the Dead Sea. A breathtaking beauty, natural wonder, but also incredibly dangerous. Getting just a drop of this water in your eyes would bring you to tears, a little in your mouth would leave you spitting for an hour afterward, and just 8 ounces ingested would end your life. This Southeastern Border of Israel is something that appears beautiful, but delivers death. A symbol of sin in our life. I can only imagine the Israelites after wandering for 40 years in the barren desert to see this beautiful water, only to realize it is not at all what they had expected. It appears beautiful, but it can’t deliver what it promised. Sounds familiar to me.
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.
Next, we headed North and came to Ein Gedi, along the west side of the Dead Sea. A beautiful expanse of mountains, cliffs, streams and waterfalls. It was here where David hid from Saul, and also the first time on the trip we have seen any Living Water or Mayim Chayim. Mayim Chayim is the term God’s people use to describe water that moves, like a river. This is the only type of water deemed appropriate for ceremonial cleansing. It would be inappropriate to cleanse in water from the Dead Sea or the stagnant pond in your neighborhood. This was the first time we had seen Living Water in our first three days. It was here, in front of a small natural pool fed by a waterfall that Jared taught us what Jesus really meant when he says ‘I am the water of life’. He is the only one who can truly cleanse us, who can truly satisfy us. The visual here provided a depth and potency I had never considered before. Our hearts should long for Him the way a man in the desert longs for fresh water. It was after this teaching where Jared invited us to experience this Living Water first hand and dive headfirst, many fully clothed into this Living Water. To experience Him unhindered. But the lesson did not stop there, but rather gave us something to look forward to. Because of Christ’s redemptive nature, we get to look forward to a day prophesied in Ezekiel 47 where Jesus will return, and Mayim Chayim will flow from the Temple Mount all the way through Ein Gedi to the Dead Sea and make it fresh. To make it alive. Fish will swim in it and the trees along its shores will produce fruit. He will take what is dead and bring it to life. This also sounds familiar. Praise God.
Written by Tyler Wilhelm
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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