A beautiful sunrise to greet us before we left the Dead Sea.
The first stop of our day was Masada. This was one of the places I was most excited to visit because the kids and I had studied this story in our history this year. Before that I had never heard of Masada. Or if I had, I forgot:) Its a very sad story but fascinating. King Herod built this place as a defence and place for him to retreat to in times of trouble. Masada means stronghold. Its so high up! We had to take a cable car. Many years later, during the Jewish revolt of 66AD, a group of about 1000 Jews fled up there for refuge. After a very long attempt, the Jews realized that the Romans were going to be able to breach the walls the next day, but before the Romans were able, the Jewish leader talked the people into dying an honourable death instead of the men being killed, the women being abused, and the children being made slaves. So the men killed their families and lots were drawn between ten remaining men and they killed each other with only one man committing suicide in the end. They actually discovered the lots! Apparently two women left and told the tale. What a sad story. Until a few years ago, the IDF would take the new recruits up there to swear them in as a symbol that they would never let Israel be overtaken again.
Because it was once Herod’s palace, the place was gorgeous! So much of the original palace and city is up there. There were baths, storehouses, TWO palaces and 17 (I think:) water cisterns. Amazing. They could be self-sustaining in the desert for a very long time. They even grew vegetables and had a pigeon mail system!! This picture is us standing on Herod’s second terrace on the side of a cliff. A lot of stairs, but amazing views.
Michael got a chance to preach today at Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It was pretty cool to sit and hear my husband speak about God preserving the Bible to all generations and the love we should have for it at a site where old scrolls of scripture were found! The second picture is the actual cave where the first ones were found.
Zacchaeus was a wee little man and a wee little man was he! This picture is a 2000 year old sycamore tree around the area that Jesus would have talked to Zacchaeus. Very unlikely that it was the actual tree, but fun to take a picture and sing the song nonetheless:)
You are looking at the 4000 year old walls that came a tumblin down:) The walls of Jericho that are actually very likely the walls that the Israelites marched around. That was a pretty awesome sight.
One of my first pictures of Jerusalem!! We’re coming up to the climax of the trip. Or as I like to call it, the crying portion of the trip:)
We went today to the traditional site of the Upper Room/Last Supper. It was a beautiful church and a cool place, but we don’t know for sure that’s where it was. Our next stop however, is proven to be the house of Caiaphas. There were even utensils found there that were only used for the High Priest with Caiaphas written right on them. I think the best part about this site is that its still original and is proven to be the exact place where Jesus was. There is a beautiful church built on top of the site now but they preserved everything underneath. We went down into the solitary confinement room where Jesus would have been held after being betrayed by Judas. We all crowded into the room, Pastor Stone said a few words and then we sang “And Can It Be” all together. Hence the name, the crying part of the trip. What a moving time. To stand right where Jesus started His suffering and sing the words, “Amazing love, how can it be? That thou my God shouldst die for me!”
This last picture is of 1st century steps that led out of Caiphas’ house. It is almost a fact that Jesus walked on these very steps. In his final days. Wow. It just keeps getting better and better here every day.