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Israel, Day 5

To sum up today: I hiked up Masada, floated in the Dead Sea, and I'm now ready to go to bed early.

Masada
Built by Herod the Great as a defensive fortress against a possible Jewish revolt, Masada became home to Zealots when they fled Jerusalem under the persecution of the Romans.It became a memorial when those who were there committed mass suicide rather than be captured by the Romans. Parents were forced to kill their own children. They did so by taking them in their arms while the children were sleeping and suffocated them by hugging them. It's a very important place in the Jewish psyche. Officers in the Israeli Army are commissioned there with the vow, "never again."

One of the things I wanted to do here is to hike the "snake trail" up the side of the mountain fortress. My brother and I completed the 2 mi, 1300' elevation gain in 30 min. When we started at 9:15 AM, it was already over 90 degrees. We were sopping wet from sweat when we finished, but we finished. Because of it's proximity to the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth, we reached sea level when we got to the to of Masada. While touring the fortress I was thinking about Psalm 9:9, "The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble."

En Gedi
En Gedi is an oasis in the Judean wilderness. A waterfall flows down the cliffs from an underground aquifer. Quite a contrast for the Dead sea which this small oasis sits next to. It's here that Saul and his army camped in his pursuit to kill David (here's the story). As Saul slept in a cave to escape the heat, David has the opportunity to kill the king and take his place. Instead, he cut a piece of the king's robe and displayed his honor to the God's chosen and God's word.

This would have been a great place for a devotion about how we like to help God fulfill his word in our life. David easily could have killed Saul and taken his promised place on the throne of Israel. Instead, he showed restraint, understanding that God's promise will be fulfilled by God's process. Any shortcuts of that process can have tragic and long-lasting implications (as we do today in this this region of the country between the descendants sons of Abraham).

On a near hillside we saw a nubian ibex, a gazelle type animal that could have been the "wild goats" mentioned in the 1 Samuel 24 story.

Dead Sea (or Salt Sea)
A burgeoning resort area is developing around the dead sea. Problem is (and it's a big problem), the dead sea is shrinking...fast. Nevertheless, our tour group jumped in for the traditional "float." It is a trippy experience. The water is very viscous. And my skin did feel smoother :-). It would be OK with me if I only did this once in my lifetime.

Reflections...
- Hiking up Masada was a great accomplishment for me. It's another lifetime memory I get to share with my brother (like Game 1 of the '88 World Series in Dodger Stadium).
- God promises. I obey and commit to the process.
- I will never travel without an iron ever again. Each of the hotels we've been at has an ironing room with only one iron for the hotel. This is a drag (I'm sitting waiting in line to use the iron right now).
- It was hot again today!!! It is a little cooler here up in Jerusalem than in the Judean wilderness for sure. Still warm.

Tomorrow we head into the old city for the first time. Convention starts tomorrow night. Should be great!

PS: To view all our photos from today, CLICK HERE

Comments (81)

mkitada [TypeKey Profile Page]:

Have a great time at convention. I pray that the Holy Spirit would fall, fill and overflow you and all the participants. To guide, instruct and refresh for the future.
Thanks for your updates. Be blessed.
Mike

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 21, 2007 8:42 AM.

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