As you can tell, I’m running a bit behind on posting, but we have been delightfully busy!
I’ll attach some pics when I get a chance, but just to keep you updated…
We enjoyed the elegance and food of the hotel on the Dead Sea, but this morning we headed out to Masada. A number of us walked up the Snake Path, a climb up of over 1200 feet. The people in the cable car waved at us as they passed overhead. Masada, a palace complex built by Herod the Great, is the site of the last Jewish resistance to the Romans in the war that started in 66CE that resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70. Masada held out a couple more years due to its strategic location and amazing planning for water and food. We walked down the Roman ramp that was built that finally resulted in Roman victory. On through the Judean wilderness to Beer She’va, site of Abraham’s well and the ancient tel. From there we went to Tel Arad, an ancient Canaanite city and later an important Judean fortress. An Israelite temple was found here that is similar to the Temple that would have been standing in Jerusalem.
On to Bethlehem! We passed back into the West Bank and again noted the great difference in standard of living, the incursion of Jewish settlements everywhere, and a heavy Israeli military presence. We are staying at the magnificent Jacir Intercontinental in Bethlehem. What a place to stay, yet we are the only group in the hotel because of the difficulties posed by the wall and checkpoints.
We finally had time for our Sunday worship service, and it was a wonderful experience of sharing and communion.
Also, we have seen so many tels (the mounds created by ancient cities) that we have a running line of tel jokes.
What’s the best way to see a tel? (Television)
How do people communicate between two tels? …. you get the idea!