Israel Study Tour with Oakbrook Church, Faith Christian Reformed Church

Mar 7-17, 2016

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Rivers of living water

Our bags were packed and our hearts and minds were ready for new sites when we left the Dead Sea this morning and headed for Ein Gedi, the largest oasis south of the Dead Sea. Ein Gedi is referred to by name several times in the Bible, but most notably, as the place where David hid from King Saul in a cave. At the Spring of Ein Gedi, Marshall explained the Biblical significance of living water, comparing the stagnate cistern water of Masada to the flowing spring water of Ein Gedi. In the spirit of John 7:38, which states, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,” Marshall posed the question: why settle for dead water when you can have living water in Christ?

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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The highly anticipated site of Qumran proved to live up to its hype. In 1947, Bedouin shepherds fortuitously stumbled upon what later became known as the Dead Sea Scrolls in a cave at Qumron. Not only did we learn about the Yahad people’s communal culture and script copying practices from two thousand years ago, but we also learned about the discovery of the Scrolls 70 years ago. Troy shared the story of John Trevor - a Milwaukee native who was instrumental in determining the Scrolls’ significance.

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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After Qumran, it was on to the Jordan River, Israel’s border with Jordan and where Jesus was once baptized by John the Baptist. The teaching called on us to remember that we worship a God who didn’t just tell us to get baptized, but who got in the water with us and was baptized himself and so, while some dipped their toes in the river, two women, Marilyn and Julie, were baptized.

To close out the day, we settled into our new hotel on the Sea of Galilee and enjoyed a delicious shabbat dinner.

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