We started off the day by leaving the Sea of Galilee and ended up at the Dead Sea with the best hotel so far, the best food so far, and the worst internet so far:) It took me till the next morning to finally get my pics uploaded. This was accomplished by waking up at 5:30 and putting the computer in the bathroom. The things we find out when we’re desperate for wifi:)
Our first stop was to put our feet in the Jordan river. This river is mentioned so many times in the Bible. So many important things happened around this river. As our guide has been explaining to us, water is so important in the Middle East. At home, I’m used to seeing water everywhere! Just on our land we have three different places you can look at water. You just don’t see that here. Even the two seas that we’ve seen look puny compared to our great lakes. But its a whole different story over here. It was actually kind of slimy and gross, but you have to have a picture in the Jordan River if you’re here:)
Next we went to the largest dig in Israel called Beit She’an. It was unbelievable. The pictures don’t nearly do it justice, but I’ll show you some anyways:) There was a few cool things I must tell you about! This first picture is an overview of the site from the top of a tel, which means old. Its basically the hill that happens when cities crumble and new cities are built on top. Our guide told us that they are only 20% done excavating and its still an active dig! Impressively huge.
Columns that lined the streets. It amazes me continually how they made everything so beautiful even though it was so hard to do without technology. There’s carvings everywhere.
This is one of the oldest painted crosses found in the world. This painting is is 1300 years old!
This may have been the part that made me smile the most:) This is part of the Roman bathhouse and we were all trying to figure out what these columns were. We figured it looked like furnaces on the side, so probably a steam room with stools? Nope. You’re looking at in-floor heating! Those are furnaces and the steam came out, but there was another floor that the columns held up and the steam flowed through the columns and warmed the floor from underneath. And here I thought in floor heating was a modern invention:)
Next stop was En Gedi. I think this is the only Biblical name we say right in North America:) We had our Sunday morning service here. Its actually in Palestine so that was an education in and of itself! Our guide explained everything going on in the West Bank from his perspective. That was an amazing experience. Its far to complicated and sensitive for me to say anything about it here, but I enjoyed the learning.
We enjoyed a Sunday service in the outdoors at EnGedi. We joked around about it not being a real Baptist service since we had no offering, but it was fun:)
En Gedi was just a national park, no ruins or anything to see, but it was beautiful and so different from the area of Israel we had been in so far. This is much more dessert like. Barren everywhere. More typical of what you think of when you think of the Middle East.
We ended the day early so we could enjoy our time by the Dead Sea. What an amazing experience! You really do float:) I wasn’t sure that everything I heard was true, but it is:) I don’t have any pics because I didn’t want to ruin my camera, but it was fun. We rubbed the mud all over ourselves and called it a spa treatment:) This is the view from our balcony of the Dead Sea. So blessed. Every day.