In the South

Yesterday, we traveled to the southern part of Israel.  We made three stops–Tel Beer Sheva, the Ramon Crater and the Wilderness of Paran.

A Bedouin tent and excavations at Tel Beer Sheva.

For the Passover holiday, some Bedouins set up a hospitality tent with music at Tel Beer Sheva, which is of course a Biblical site and also it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Tel Beer Sheva is a very important site and it is mentioned many times in the Bible.  There, Abraham lived and also entered into a covenant with Abimelech.  G-d appeared to Isaac, as he was preparing to leave Beer Sheva because of a famine and to go to Egypt.  G-d told Isaac to remain in the Land and dwell there, not Egypt.  The word “dwell” is the same word from which the word shekinah (glory– literally the dwelling presence of G-d) is derived. In other words, G-d was instructing Isaac to live in the Land in a manner that manifests the divine presence of G-d.  This reminds us that we  also should  live in a way which manifests G-d’s glory.

At the Ramon Crater (L) and camels in the desert.

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Baruch and me taking a selfie at the Ramon Crater.  Photo by Celia Bradley.

We then went to the Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater).  It is located in the Negev Desert. The views there are magnificent.  The crater is 40 km long, 2–10 km wide and 500 meters deep, and is shaped like an elongated heart.

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The Wilderness of Paran.

Our final destination of the day was the Wilderness of Paran.  There were several significant events which took place in there. Hagar and Ishmael were there for a period of time after Hagar fled from Sarai.  Paran is later mentioned in the Book of Numbers as a place where the Israelites temporarily settled during the Exodus.  We were all struck by the barrenness of the land and how the Israelites had no choice but to rely upon G-d.  G-d provided for their needs, yet they looked back to their time in Egypt fondly!  How many times does G-d lead us out of a bad situation and provide something better for us, yet we reminisce and idealize those unhealthy situations.

G-d’s plans are always the best.  We need to thank Him for His provision and leading in our lives.

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