Quite a different day today (more adventuresome than reflective). In typical fashion, my buddy Nathan had my hiking all over the mountains of eastern Israel. He keeps me interesting, I keep him alive. It’s a good contract.
We visited the ancient fortress of Masada, a stunning wilderness stronghold built by King Herod in case he needed a place to hide out. He never used it, but it was inhabited by Jewish rebels just before the fall of Jerusalem in AD70. You can read their fascinating story here.
Only minutes up the road is En Gedi, the breathtaking wilderness hideout where David fled from Saul. This is the location of 1 Samuel 24, where David spared Saul’s life while he was “relieving himself” in a cave. The pictures don’t do it no justice. If I were running for my life, I’d head straight here, too.
We took a swim in the Dead Sea (not only do you float, you physically can’t sink!). Oceans contain about 3% salt. The Dead Sea: 25%. I’m still cleaning the salt crystals from behind my ears.
Last stop was the caves of Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in the late 1940’s and early 50s. These manuscripts were a powerful testimony to the accuracy of the Scriptures. These copies almost perfectly matched their next youngest counterparts, nearly 1,000 years younger, showing how precisely the texts have been passed down from generation to generation.
Tomorrow we head north to the Sea of Galilee where Jesus did most of his teaching. I may try to walk on water like Peter did. I’ll let you know if it works out better for me than it did for him.