Israel Study Tour with Joshua Wilderness Institute

Apr 5-18, 2019

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On a rock

Hey! Shalom here.
When we visited Ein Gedi, the first impression of it was fairly bland. From the outside of the ravine, it looks like your average Judean desert mountains, nothing special. But descending into the Wadi, toward the Ein Gedi spring, you see the orangish tan landscape start to become populated with green. The silence, occupied only by rocks crunching beneath your feet, is accompanied by the quiet gurgle of a stream. As we descended even farther, the stream appeared, flowing into a few pools and a water falls. At our final destination, a cave which could very well be one like David camped out in while hiding from Saul, Rachel neatly tied together so many of the water analogies and symbolism we’ve discussed over the year. On day one we went down into a mostly empty cistern, with only a couple puddles of stagnant, nasty looking water. In Ein Gedi, the water was clear and cool. In choosing between the two, there is no question in which one to drink. This is why Jesus tells the Samaritan woman He is Living Water, or Mayim Chaim. Staying for 3 days in the desert really shows you how vital water is. David paints the picture that his need for God is as mortal as his need for water in the desert. We too should adopt that mindset, or else we miss out on something that can truly satisfy.

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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Maddy
The second site we went to today is called Qumran. This is a place where about 60 years ago they found the Dead Sea Scrolls which are the most ancient recording of the Bible that we have today. They were found among 12 different caves and today we hiked up near cave six which is near a wadi (a dry river bed ) where flash floods come sweeping through. It is an astonishing image brought to life about the fool who builds his life on the sand compared to the wise one who builds their house on a rock. Sitting on a rock right next to this wadi filled with sand, it is easy to imagine a flood rushing through and sweeping away anything finding its support on the rocky sands, yet only 50 feet from this wadi are strong tall rock that have been there for years. I feel incredibly blessed to get to see the illustrations of Mathew 7:24-27 come to life along with many other scriptures in the Bible. As we move on from the Dead Sea and the desert wilderness to the Sea of Galilee I am expectant and eager to see more of the words I have read come to life in front of my eyes.

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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Mikayla
Our trip so far has been heavy on Old Testament locations. It’s been incredible but today when we got to the Jordan I felt so excited to walk where Jesus walked! I stood by a friend in awe of really being at the river I’ve heard about since I was a baby. When my friend simply said, “Jesus was baptized here!” We chuckled in unbelief- then it hit me hard. I began to cry as I imagined Jesus humbling Himself being immersed in the water by a mere man. Over all I just feel so incredibly loved and blessed. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

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