After seeing it with our own eyes, it’s easier to understand
Hello & Happy Hump Day!
To this point, one of our favorite parts has been the food. I’m telling you, there’s no hummus like Israeli hummus. Thank goodness we’ve been walking every day to balance it out!!
Speaking of walking, our first stop today was a hike through the desert! We got a glimpse into what the Israelites experienced in their 40 years of wandering. The weather was cool and windy, so it wasn’t an exact replica, but we definitely got the picture. We give the Israelites a lot of flack for their grumbling in the wilderness, but after seeing it with our own eyes, it’s easier to understand. The wandering was not wasted and God was using that time to build their trust and faith in him, just like he does for us today!
Next, we got to experience what life was like for the Bedouin people! The first thing we did was hop on a camel and go for a ride. Something we never thought we would ever do...especially on a Wednesday! After that, we were led inside a tent where we sat on mats around a fire as Yehuda talked more about the Bedouin culture and their hospitality. We got to taste their tea, coffee, and pita… All made over the fire and all delicious!
We knew all day that there was a chance of rain, but had escaped it up until this point. It started raining as soon as we began checking out Tel Arad, where we see the remains of an ancient fortress, but don’t worry, we turned around, went back to the bus and still got to hear all the interesting stuff from Yehuda. Arad includes a replica of a temple, but it looked different from other traditional temple layouts. It was said that the Israelites were worshipping more gods than Yahweh alone. This site was archaeological evidence of henotheism - worship of one main god, but adding in other gods into the mix as well. This is what was going on at this fortress. Ending here left us with the reality of the dangers of idolatry in our own lives. As the first of the ten commandments that God chiseled on the stone tablets, we can often be guilty of idolatry when even the good things about life become elevated above our relationship and love for God.
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.
To cap off the day, we were able to return to the hotel a bit earlier than usual where many of us took our first float in the Dead Sea. It was so windy, cold, rainy, and unbelievably salty. Note to self: a little bit goes a long way if any water splashes on your face (or mouth).
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GTI Signature Tour: Israel & Jordan
Septemer 5-17, 2020
Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.
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