The end of our journey through the wilderness
It is interesting to note that when the Bible refers to “the wilderness” it is not referring to the kind of wilderness that most westerners would picture. You have seen from yesterday’s pictures as well as from todays that the wilderness is the desert. As I stated yesterday, the desert is both beautiful and terrifying. It provides so many pictures that really bring the text to life.
Today we finished our journey through the wilderness (desert) by first visiting Ein Gedi. After what seemed to be the longest hike thus far we came upon a beautiful natural waterfall. Even the sound of the waterfall before we could see it was a welcomed respite from the grueling desert heat and terrain. We had ears to hear the faithfulness of God in the desert. As the lesson progressed it became more and more clear that the desert is an accurate picture of our lives. It is tough, can’t be done alone, and we need to find water (relief). The problem is that we struggle to find water, real living water when we need it. Jn. 7:37-41 provides that answer. The waterfall pictured below provides a great image and reminder that God provides our water, our living water when we are in the desert.
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.
After lunch we journeyed to Qumran. Qumran is popularly known for being the site in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. The Dead Sea Scrolls provided unbelievable affirmation that we have written in the Bible today, specifically the Old Testament, is the same as what was written then. God, in His goodness, used the Essene people to painstakingly write and later place those scrolls in a Qumran cave to later be discovered. They were people of the text that are challenging us today to be people of the text.
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.
The hike to the top of Qumran was definitely one to ride home about. We thought that Masada was hard, it wasn’t. We huffed and we puffed, we sweated and we drank water until we arrived at the top. It was worth the hard work. The struggle was worth the payout. Even in our fatigue and sweat God provided pictures. We had eyes to see and God was faithful.
Tomorrow we begin our journey through the Galilee. Would you continue to pray that we have eyes to see, ears to hear, and feet for the path as we journey across the land of our Lord.
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