Israel Study Tour with Joshua Wilderness Institute

Apr 5-18, 2019

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God uses the mundane and normal

Today was another day with a long hike. It wasn’t as intense as Masada, but we still climbed up a few hundred feet in elevation. We did this in the Wilderness of Zin, also known as Ein Avdat in Hebrew. This is where the Israelites spent some of their forty year walk to the promise land after the Exodus. While there we also saw water coming out of the rocks in some places, just like what God did through Moses, and some broom bushes, in which Elijah went to one after he defeated the “prophets” of Baal and killed them for not following the God of Israel.

While we were hiking through the Wilderness of Zin, both Rachel and Sam talked to us. Rachel told us about the prophet Elijah and Sam about Moses. But Sam hit a little closer to home than Rachel because she talked about Moses and his staff and how God used Moses’ staff and used it more than anything else he had. Sam then posed the question of what is our staff in life, something that is mundane and normal to us but that God can and will use for his glory? And are we using our ‘staff’ to tear down other people in our lives?
–Gabe Benson


Avdat
In Avdat it was in the wilderness of zin and it was really cool structure with a lot more remaining than most ruins we have been too. At this site we discovered that this particular people that lived here was a wide range from wanderer to Christian in the late 16th century. This area was a hotspot for settlers for a long time because down from the bottom of this Mountain or Har in Hebrew was a valley where a good amount of water from flash floods ran through so it was a fertile spot for grapes and products like wine. Overall there was a ton of info at this site and it was really cool to see how people survived and thrived in the desert.
–Cam Cooper

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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Our last stop was a burial ground for Daniel Ben Guvrin. He was the first prime minister of Israel when it first became a nation after world war 2. He chose to run his newly established country from a local community rather than a palace as many leaders are accustomed to. He was known for his humility and leadership because of this decision. It is traditional for those who visit to place a stone on the monument where he’s buried so we each took turns paying our respect. The rest of our day was free time back at the hotel. Some of us went to the local mall while others chose to hang out at the pool/spa area.
–Hank Swanson

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Today we hiked the iconic Wilderness of Zin!

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