As I’m writing this blog post I am sitting on a beach at the Sea of Galilee (aka Lake Tiberius; aka Lake Kinneret). Yes, THE Sea of Galilee, where Jesus walked on water, and performed miracles, and preached God’s truth!!
We got here just in time for baptisms in the sea at sunset for those who wanted to and it was powerful yet serene at the same time.
One person in our group, Kelly, shared this about her baptism today in the Sea of Galilee: “My baptism today was emotional for me because first time I got baptized I was much younger and I did it because of fear of men. But this time, getting baptized in the Sea of Galilee, it was real for me. I know more about Jesus now. Israel feels like home to me! So getting baptized in the Sea of Galilee where Jesus was, that was special. I just want to be like Him. I feel close to God here.”
Speaking of baptisms, we also visited the Jordan River today. Did you know that several reverences to Jordan River in the Bible include the word “salvation” or other variation thereof in several of the names? (Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, Jesus...) These are the kind of gems you discover in God’s Word when you’re in Israel.
And speaking of God’s Word, we also visited and learned about Kumran and the Dead Sea Scrolls where we were reminded of the different types of evidence that exists and proves the Bible is accurate, true, and eternal.
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.
Before Kumran we visited Ein-Gedi where we dug deep into the story of David hiding from Saul and David’s response to it. As we read 1 Samuel 23:29 - 24:1-22 you can almost see the story unfold before your eyes by experiencing the place firsthand. Ein-Gedi also includes a waterfall where we learned about mayim chaim which means living waters...
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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