Israel Study Tour with North Coast Church

Nov 17-28, 2019

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Desert and Water

The highlight of my day, today, was getting baptized in the “Middle Jordan” or also known as Sea of Galilee!

But, it came at the end of a really amazing day of connecting the various locations of the Bible to their verses in the Bible.

We went to En Gedi, where we walked through hills and valleys and saw natural caves in the sides of the hills. We then opened our Bibles and listened to Chris Brown bring the story of David being pursued by King Saul and his army. David had the opportunity to take Saul’s life, but refused to dishonor the king. Read the story in 1 Samuel 23:22 - 24:22.

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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While there, we also found a spring of Living Water where JD Larson took us into Psalm 63, A psalm of David when he was in the Desert of Judah. JD helped us understand how important it is to earnestly seek God.

Other interesting facts were shared about the natural plants and animals that grow in this part of the desert and how they impacted the people of the Bible.

Our next stop was at Qumran, which is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by shepherd boys. They had lost a goat, and thinking it had gone into one of the caves that are formed naturally in the hills, they started throwing rocks into the caves to scare it out. Instead, the sound of pottery breaking was heard. The boys had found some ancient scrolls! Taking one into Bethlehem to try to make money off of it, the antique dealer spotted the rare find, contacted a professor to verify the information and it was determined to be an exact replica of Isaiah, but dating it to the first century BC, which was hundreds of years earlier than any scripture written in their archives!


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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Our guide, Ronan, carefully took us on a journey into Israeli history that started at Qumran and lasted the entire drive up the highway next to the Jordan River. We stopped at the Jordan River, just outside of Jericho, and read the scripture (Joshua 3:15-17)about how the Israelites crossed over the Jordan River and the process that was used and why it is so important to us. Then he took us to Luke 3 and told us about John the Baptist and we found that the passage clearly describes this part of the Wilderness where John lived, taught and baptized and then it clearly also describes the area where Jesus was baptized then taken away into the Wilderness. It’s hard to describe if you haven’t seen the land with your own eyes.

After that we made the journey along the Jordan River hearing about all of the wars and clashes between Israel and their near neighbors for decades!

We ended in a little town right on the shores of the Sea of Galilee with just minutes of daylight left, allowing us to gather together where about a dozen of us got (re)baptized in the Sea of Galilee.

We’ve had the Lord’s Hand guiding and protecting us this whole trip.

—Cheryl S.

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