This blog was mostly written by Tiffany and Ben. Hope you enjoy. (Their words are in blue)
Today we said our last “Good Mornings” from The Sea of Galilee. Our word of the day was purpose. After breakfast, we loaded the bus and traveled Southward to Beit-Shean. Beit-Shean is located at the junction of the Jezreel and Jordan valleys. We learned that when the Philistines defeated Saul and his sons on Mt. Gilboa, they hung their bodies on the walls here.
As we continued to follow the Jordan Valley southward, we found ourselves at Bethany Beyond the Jordan. Several cool things happened here. Perhaps the coolest is told to us in Matthew 3:13-17 where it says that this is the spot that John the Baptist baptized our Jesus. I remember sitting there listening to the devotional, swatting flies, and wiping sweat (it was HOT!) thinking WOW! Our Lord showed an example to us in these very waters. The Jordan isn’t pretty water like The Sea of Galilee. In these dirty waters, The Lamb of God was baptized. Elijah and Elisha crossed the Jordan and the children of Israel, led by Joshua, entered the Promise Land from The Jordan as well.
Next stop was Qumran Caves. This site is famous for being the hiding place of the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1947 a sheepherder had thrown a rock into the cave in attempts to drive out a missing animal. After hearing pottery break, he went into the cave and found the nearly 2,000-year-old scrolls wrapped in linen.
Our next adventure was a cable car ride up to the mountaintop of Masada. For those that know me you know, I do not do well at all in crowded places. As I watched the 80 or so folks pile into this cable car, I could feel some anxiety set in! I knew the alternative was to walk UP (way up) the snake trail to the top, so I took my place by the door and made the ride up. It seemed like we had already walked at least a million miles today so I faced my fears and conquered the crowded cable car! The fortress of Masada was built by King Herod. It was a place where battles were fought with rocks and flaming arrows. We could see The Dead Sea from the top. The remains of Masada have been well preserved. We saw a bathhouse which had a colorful mosaic floor. There was a beautiful western palace and a synagogue as well. We learned that Jewish zealots living on top of Masada in 73AD committed suicide as opposed to falling into the hands of the Romans. Masada was a beautiful fortress filled with much history.
We ended our day at The Dead Sea. This is the lowest point on Earth at 1,371 feet below sea level. The salinity is 30% making it one of the saltiest bodies of water on Earth. Because of this when one is in the water, they float as opposed to sinking. Several of our group took advantage of some free time before dinner and floated on the Dead Sea.
It was a great day traveling the Jordan Valley to the Dead Sea. I am so thankful for the memories made with this wonderful group of friends!
This is what Ben said about the Dead Sea. “As we were riding the bus and I looked out the window the picture below is what I saw. The Dead Sea. My thoughts were just how beautiful it was. But then I got to thinking about sin as we continued to drive. Sometimes it is so BEAUTIFUL and so tempting but in the end is death. As with this body of water, it is dead. There is no life in it or around it.”
Thank you Tiffany and Ben for sharing your memories. It was a great day!