On Monday, May 14, the LoveIsrael.org Study Tour group headed out of Jerusalem and we made our first stop at Masada. Many of you have read about this site and know of the Jewish people who fled the brutal Romans. The Romans attacked Masada in 73-74 CE. According to Josephus, 960 of the Jewish community there perished and 7 survived. Those who perished were killed by one another, as capture by the Romans would have been certain torture and eventual death.
There were 19 of us who walked up the snake path. Two of the women were in their 70s and were an inspiration to all.
The waterfall, synagogue mosaic floor and ibex at Ein Gedi.
Our next stop was Ein Gedi. While fleeing King Saul, David took refuge here. (See I Samuel 23-24). Ein Gedi is one of the most popular nature parks in all of Israel. The waters and waterfalls are a welcomed site while travelling through the desert.
Qumran is where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. We arrived there and walked a short distance to where the caves are located. Baruch spoke about the importance of finding the Dead Sea Scrolls and how they confirm the Old Testament quotations which are found in the New Testament.
There is discussion as to whether John the Baptist spent some time here. The Jewish community in Qumran left Jerusalem because of the corrupt leadership there.
Our last stop of the day was at the Dead Sea. Its surface and shores are 430.5 metres (1,412 ft) below sea level, making it Earth’s lowest elevation on land. The Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hyper saline lake in the world. With a salinity of 342 g/kg, or 34.2%, (in 2011), it is 9.6 times as salty as the ocean and one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. Many of the group took the opportunity to float there and take advantage of their buoyancy.
The rest of us were able to sit at picnic tables and discuss the sites we saw that day.