Well yesterday, I THOUGHT we'd be going to the Old City of Jerusalem. But we had to change plans. Madonna was there…
Actually she WAS there when we were 2 days ago. Yesterday morning, Ben was reading internet news and said, "Hey, Madonna was in Jerusalem last night when we were!" I replied, "Do you know what Madonna is saying right now? I'm reading Tim's blog & Pastor Ben was in Jerusalem last night when we were!"
Anyway, Ben wasn't feeling well yesterday (again) so we changed our plans. We decided to hit up the Dead Sea area.
We drove by the Qumran, the area where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered in 1947 (proving that the Bible Text went way farther back with amazing consistency, which went against all the accusations skeptics were winging around).
We ate lunch between the Dead Sea & Ein Gedi (where David once sought refuge in the arid, rocky cliffs as he fled from King Saul).
We then headed to Masada where we spent most of the afternoon. This is a STUNNING place on every level: visually, geographically, architecturally, historically.
- It was an inaccessible mountain plateau in the middle of the desert, which Herod turned into an amazing winter palace. Then after the Jewish Rebellion of 66 AD, and the subsequent sacking of Jerusalem & burning of the Temple in 70 AD, there was a little pocket of resistance left here. 900 men, women, & children were holed up on the mountain, & holding off 10,000 Roman soldiers for months. The Roman decided to create a mountain ramp, shovel by shovel with Jewish slave labor. They finally burned the gate one night and planned to take over the next morning. But the Jews decided death would be better than slavery & they committed mass suicide (via 10 men with swords who had drawn lots, then 1 of them killed the other 9 & fell on his sword).
On our way home, we had to cool off. So we swam in the Dead Sea. Actually, we didn't swim. We floated. Even I floated, who can't ever float! It was another great experience.
Today, we plan to see the Sea of Galilee where Jesus grew up, worked as a carpenter, & spent most of his earthly ministry.