Israel Study Tour with Crossings Community Church

Feb 16-28, 2020

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Like living water

Good news, it seems like everyone is finally acclimating to the time change!! There are still a few that are having a hard time sleeping and STAYING asleep, but we were encouraged to hear that it was getting better for some!

This morning, we had our last breakfast at the Dead Sea hotel and then our last devo, worship, and prayer at the Dead Sea. It was an exceptionally beautiful and calm morning. Lovely way to end our stay here. (We were also all very prompt to breakfast, checking out of the hotel, and getting to the bus which made Yehuda very happy!)

Today the plan was to visit three sites! First stop: Masada National Park. We were pleased to hear that instead of making the trek all the way to the top of the fortress by foot, we would be taking the cable car! That in and of itself was really cool. The views were absolutely incredible! We learned that Masada was built by Herod the Great. We took away 2 things about Herod: 1) he was extremely paranoid 2) he was a brilliant businessman. Years later, Masada was to be a fortress for the last Jewish freedom fighters against the Romans.

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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Next stop: Ein Gedi! This nature reserve had beautiful acacias and other various plants all over. There wasn’t a place you turned your head that wasn’t stunning in nature. We got our first sighting of rock badgers/Hyraxes roaming the grounds. As we walked, we saw caves in the mountains, which were the very caves described in 1 Samuel 24 when Saul was running and hiding from David. We walked further to a spring and as we enjoyed its beauty, we reflected on Jeremiah 2:13 again where we focused on flowing-living water vs. still and stale water. The challenge was made to not only take from the living water that each of us have access to as Christians, but to be aware that we are to be like living water to those around us who may come to us in need.

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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Last but not least: Qumran! This put a big exclamation point to the end of our Dead Sea adventure. Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in 1947. These scrolls are the oldest Hebrew scriptures to have ever been discovered. So much history and rich information to take in! Archaeologists are still to this day working excavations and uncovering amazing discoveries of what communal living was all about in that Hellenistic time period.

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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We’ve officially left the desert and are on to our next stop, Galilee. We’ve got a full day ahead of us exploring where Jesus himself once walked the earth!

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Experience Israel & Jordan for 11 days in the context of biblical history and personal faith.

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