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Israel Study Tour with The Church at Rocky Peak

March 12-23, 2023

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Day 02 -Negev: Wilderness of Zin, Bedouin Hospitality, Camel Ride, Salt Sea

Desert, desert, camels & more desert. That pretty much sums up our day- kidding! BUT we did learn a lot about the different types of deserts that are talked about in the Bible! As somebody who has grown up in California my whole life, my idea of the “wilderness & desert” is definitely not what we experienced today! But let’s start from the beginning.


This morning we woke up to a beautiful view of the Dead Sea! Watching the sun rise over the Dead Sea is something that will be in my mind for the rest of my life! We got up, ate some breakfast, & hopped on the bud to head to the Wilderness of Zin! In case you didn’t know, this is the land where Moses & the Israelites wandered while going to the Promise Land! As the story goes, we know they spent about 40 years in this desert! Now, as I said at the beginning of this post, my idea of the desert/ wilderness kind of looks like a place with cactus & Joshua trees- sort of what you see on your way to Arizona- but that’s NOT what this wilderness looks like. Honestly, I’m glad my paradigm shifted in that because I was able to understand more of why the Israelites complained/ wished they would have died in Egypt. This land is mostly made of limestone & every once in a while you will find some water & a few plants. We finally arrived to a spot in Beersheba where we walked around, ate some salty plants, and found some rocks. Interesting side note, our tour guide grabbed a sharp rock & said “These rocks are the type of rocks that Abraham most likely used to circumcise Isaac”. WILD. Anyway, continuing on our walk we headed down to an overlook that was next to a river & Michael gave a great message on Numbers 13. At Rocky Peak, we are very familiar with the language “Listen & Follow” and as we look to Scripture, we see that the Israelites also did a greatly good job of living this out by listening & following the Lord each day by cloud & each night by fire. Michaels main point for us was that “it is one thing to listen & follow when life is easy, it’s another when life gets hard”. Michael then had us turn over to Deuteronomy 8 & talked about what it means to live off of bread alone & challenged us with the question “how deep is the word of God rooted in your heart?” We then were interrupted by some goats aka IBEX who were climbing along the sides of the canyon.


Next we hopped on the Promise Land (aka the bus) and headed towards… *pause for dramatic affect* CAMEL RIDES!!! Personally I was SO excited for this part! We arrived to a camp, got in pairs, put on helmets & headed to the camels! There is definitely a science behind getting on a camel. First, you have to get on the camel at the SAME TIME as your partner because the camel will stand as soon as it feels weight. Secondly, once it begins to stand, hold on TIGHT & lean back- before you know it you are 7+ feet in the air! We went for a nice stroll on our camels, came back to camp, hopped off & had some lunch!


We made our way into a tent & had a teaching on hospitality. As we know, you cannot be alone in the desert, well you can but it’s definitely not recommended. You need community in order to survive. We talked about the story of Abraham & how while he was being hospital to some people traveling through, he learned that in 1 year he would become a father- a father to Isaac. Sometimes we take for granted the teachings of Abraham & the example he set out for us on what it means to show hospitality. Israel holds tightly to that value. They invite people over in their neighborhoods to build community, feed one another, & have good conversation- Think of it as a life group! Ronan challenged us with the question of- how do you show hospitality to those around you? Do you invite people over for dinner? Do you invite strangers or new friends into your home? As the body of Christ, building up the church & building our community is essential to taking care of the body! We drank some tea, ate some baklava & headed back on the bud towards the Dead Sea!


We ended our day with a quick dip into the Dead Sea- well not really a quick dip, more like slowly sitting down, turning around on your back slowly & trying not to splash much because you do NOT want to get any of this water in your mouth or eyes!Before we got in we put black mud on us that was like mud mask that helped moisturize and soften our skin! We then made our way into the Sea & began to float- probably one of the weirdest but coolest feelings ever! If you tried to put your body under water you really had to use your muscles to keep yourself under! We left with only a few people getting the salty water in their eyes so I’d say that’s a success!


I seriously cannot believe how much we have done in just a few days & there is still SO much more ahead! Getting to experience the Bible is something that I’ll never take for granted!


~Allison Swales

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