israel…day 4

Oh boy!  Are we getting info overload!!!  This has been so much fun and I can’t wait to get all my pictures together for ya’ll to see.  Where to start now?

Well first I met the greatest young man ever, Scott Stilwell. He is so amazing, I can’t even put it into words! (Ok...I was in the shower while my roomies son came in and typed on my computer!!  But I will say….he just might be the greatest young man ever! )  🙂

Today we started out by going to Massada.  I highly encourage you to see the movie (made in the 60’s) it’s a very interesting story/movie.  It’s located about 2.5 miles from the western shore of the Dead Sea.  It’s a huge rock fortress  and is about 1/2 mile long and rises 2,000 feet above the level of the Dead Sea.  (don’t I take good notes?) In the year 40 BC, Herod the Great built a huge fortress on the top of Massada to protect himself from the Jews.  It had an 18 foot high wall with 38 towers, each 75 ft high.

Long story short, the Romans tried to storm the fortress but were beaten back, because it was well defended.  So they built a battering ram….not to mention a RAMP to roll it down and this was the beginning of the end.  So the Jews knew they were going to die and they decided to die free men… other words, they decided to kill themselves so they wouldn’t be enslaved to the Romans.  960 people died…….

There is SOOO much more to that story and is best for you to do a little google.  (I don’t have enough battery, my friends).

Next we went to En Gedi, where David and his men hid out in a cave when they were running from King Saul.  It’s believed that David wrote some of his psalms while he was in this area.  The area is fed by fresh water springs and was known in the time of King Solomon as a fragrant spa (woo hoo!) with a waterfall and tropical vegetation.  When we got there, a group of girls were swimming in the waterfall area and were having so much fun… full clothing……

Think that was the cave???  Well, they don’t know which one because there are so many, so I’m going to say…..’yes’…, that’s all I know about that.

Or…..maybe it was that one…..I don’t know….

Ok, then we were off to Qumran.  This is the site where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found by two Bedouin shepherd boys.  They found 7 pots containing scrolls of ancient biblical texts.  The scrolls are believed to be over 2000 years old and were hidden by the Essenes (those jokesters) before the Romans invaded the area to go attack Masada.  P.S.  The scrolls are on exhibit in Jerusalem at the Shrine of the Book in the Israel museum.

That was a cool pic because it is one of the bath areas…just another ritual….but I like to think of it as a hot tub experience….

Then we were off to Jericho to see the ‘where the walls came a tumblin’ down’……..(ok, I just sang the last part of a Sunday School song).  Jericho is one of the world’s oldest, continuously inhabited cities and also the most excavated…..however….I only took one photo, because I got a little distracted by a Palestinian man that was selling necklaces..  So, three necklaces later, the bus was leaving.  Some people in the group gave two little children a dollar bill each and all of a sudden EVERY kid in the neighborhood was surrounding the bus!  I thought I was going to have to get physical….but since they were toddlers, I let them go without incident…

We stopped giving money when we figured we were funding something bigger than what we might think….(spooooooky).

But let’s not forget the Dead Sea!!!  No, I didn’t float, but I got tons of pics of people that did!!!

I normally just get my mud from Nordstrom Spa.  I didn’t know that I could have flown to Philly, then to Tel Aviv and then to the Dead Sea and maybe I could have saved us some money…..

And p.s…the Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth.  It’s actually a lake and its shrinking every year because of irrigation in the north as well as mineral refineries that are adjacent to the Sea.  It’s about 11 miles wide and about 40 miles long.

So….that didn’t finish the day because we’ve decided that after dinner we are going to hit the town of Jerusalem.  How many people can say that?  I can’t wait…’s awesome.

Toodles and will talk to you soon!!!

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