Calvary Church Israel Study Tour

February 6-17, 2017

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Floating, hiking and riding!

What an adventure! We started the day at Masada. About half the group hiked the snake path while the other (smarter) half enjoyed the comforts of the gondola tram. Masada is a wondrous place with a tragic but compelling story of a group of zealots who would rather take their own lives than become slaves to the Roman Empire. We hiked down the back side of Masada along the siege ramp and boarded the bus.

Masada

The summit of Masada sits 190 feet (59 m) above sea level and about 1,500 feet (470 m) above the level of the Dead Sea. The mountain itself is 1950 feet (610 m) long, 650 feet (200 m) wide, 4,250 feet (1330 m) in circumference, and encompasses 23 acres. The “Snake Path” climbs 900 feet (280 m) in elevation. From the west, the difference in height is 225 feet (70 m).

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We ended up at a re-creation of a Bedouin village where had a 30 minute camel ride and then drank tea and coffee under a tent while learning about Bedouin hospitality.

After lunch we headed out to Tel Arad where we visited a citadel built around the time of Solomon or Rehoboam. At this citadel there is a complete replica of the Temple in Jerusalem. We discussed how the compromise involved in this but then took a journey through the scriptures of how God dwells with His people and walks among them from the Garden of Eden to the Tabernacle to the Temple to Jesus to our bodies and then to the future kingdom. It was so encouraging to hear God's heart in that way. We also discussed biblical hospitality and generosity while looking out over the rest of the Canaanite era village in Arad. Desert life required hospitality and generosity like Abraham expressed to his three visitors.

Tel Arad

Like many cities in the Holy Land, Arad was repeatedly settled because of its strategic geographical location. Though situated in an area with little rainfall, Arad was inhabited frequently in ancient times because of its position along the routes coming from the east and southeast.

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Finally, we took a dip in the Dead Sea but then quickly transitioned to the heated Dead Sea water pools at the hotel that were much more comfortable. The Dead Sea also reminds us of generosity because the Dead Sea has no outlet. That's why it's dead. It just takes and takes and takes but never gives. It receives good water but since it has no outlet, even that water turns into Dead Sea salt. We can't just take from others, even good things, we must give and be generous if we want to be a healthy, growing human being.

Tomorrow - Qumran and Ein Gedi and then to the Galilee!

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