Dead Sea & En Gedi photos and commentary

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dead Sea & En Gedi

After our tour of Masada, we went to the Dead Sea, and floated in it. That was an incredible spot. But very slippery, and the salt was very acrid. We were warned not to get any in our eyes, or mouths. What was hard was, once your feet went up, getting back to shore was not a picnic. I have to be honest and say of all the spots we visited, that was my least favorite. I am glad I did it once, but once is enough. Perhaps at spas where there is a sandy bottom my perception would be different. The Dead Sea is getting smaller and smaller as time goes by. It is frightening to the locals and they are debating what to do about the diminishing sea. One idea is to bring water from the Red Sea and put it into the Dead Sea – the slogan being, “From Red to Dead.”  They are not acting quickly on this because they have learned from the past that ecology can be ruined if one acts too fast. (Heather’s note, perhaps prayer would be more effective in this.)

Right before we visited Israel, they had an unusual rain storm where it rained 12 inches in one day. The Mt. of Olives flooded, and there were pictures in the local newspapers that mirror the floods we have received locally. What made this unusual is it usually doesn’t rain in May. Nurit kept pointing out the damage caused by the flooding.

What also happened because of the rain is there were sink holes formed around the Dead Sea, and lots of gullies formed by the flash floods.

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Some people took huge clumps of salt from the rocks. The muslim women went into the Dead Sea fully clothed in burkas.

Pastor Don had the driver stop the bus alongside the road and pointed out caves in the mountainside. These were the caves where they found the Dead Sea Scrolls.

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You can see the cave to the left, in the shorter mountain. It was one of the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Shepherd boys were crawling around the caves, and tossed a rock into the cave, hearing a tinkling sound of breaking pottery. They found a scroll and sold it in the market. Eventually a buyer asked where the scrolls were found, and a treasure was uncovered. What made the scrolls so important is scholars compared the scrolls found in these caves with current Old Testament Scriptures and found out that the texts were virtually the same, the only difference being an occasional punctuation mark. That kind of defeats the argument that the Bible can’t be trusted because translations change the text – if documents hidden thousands of years ago agree with the current Scriptures, then translations have not changed the meaning of the text. There were 300 scrolls found. No one knows why the scrolls were put into a cave. Nurit said they never threw away an old Torah, but buried the worn out copies, and it is possible the scrolls were buried in a cave. John the Baptist and the Essenes lived in this area. It is also possible the Essenes buried the scrolls to protect them from the enemy.

We also visited an oasis of En Gedi. Most of the springs around the Dead Sea have a high salt content, but En Gedi is one of two fresh water springs. Josephus praised En Gedi for palm trees and basalm. Ezekiel predicted that fishermen would line the shores of the Dead Sea by En Gedi (Ezekiel 47:10).

Around 1000 BC, when David fled from Saul (1 Samuel 23) he stayed in the strongholds at En Gedi. En Gedi means “the spring of the kid (goat). Ibex live near En Gedi. When we were walking toward the waterfall, we saw Ibex and other creatures. They kept walking, not afraid of the humans.

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One time, when David was fleeing from King Saul, pursuers searched near En Gedi. Saul went into a cave around here to take care of his needs. David and his men were hiding in the recesses of the same cave. When Saul slept, David came and cut off part of the hem of Saul’s garment to let Saul know that David posed no threat to Saul’s life. 1 Samuel 24.

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You can see a cave with a stone in the opening. Hermits have come to live in these caves since the time of Jesus.

We had to walk quite some way to get to the waterfall.

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There were streams that people were swimming in.

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And beautiful waterfalls. It is hard to believe that such an oasis can exist in the middle of the desert.

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Part of the tradition of visiting En Gedi is to get into the water and stand under the waterfall.

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You can see a Muslim woman in a burka enjoying the waterfall.

Here am I in my blue suit under the waterfall. Had to get that picture so that Jim could see that I really did this. What was exciting is, at one point when many of our group were in the water, a rainbow formed.

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From certain spots on our descent from En Gedi you could see the Dead Sea. It was a good tactical position for conquest of Israel, and some of the various “ites” (Amorites, etc) came and conquered Israel from the base of En Gedi.

I am going to save Jericho for another posting because there is so much to share about that.

Hope you enjoy these pictures.

Have a blessed night!

Heather

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About Heather Marsten

Welcome to Heather's Blog. I'm looking forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. I just moved about nine years of material over from another blog site, Xanga, who may close down mid-July. At first I was disappointed to make the move because I had a lifetime membership at Xanga and had to spend weeks transferring posts. But now I'm thrilled. Already I've met new bloggers and read many new websites. Blogging is a wonderful way to expand my horizons and garner new ideas. I'm a happily married mom of three young adults. My husband and I are proud to watch our children grow and venture out into the world. My daughter is still in college but my two sons have graduated. One has a job and the other just graduated and is in the process of finding a job in his field, physics. Anyone know of any jobs out there? I'm proud of our children and love watching them grow and mature. They've become fine, compassionate, and loving people. Empty nest? Nah, I'm too busy to let an empty nest bother me. Not enough hours in the day. My husband and I enjoy quiet time together and I have many interests to pursue - one of which is blogging :D I am a born-again believer and love God. As you read this blog, you will discover that Bible studies thrill me. There is so much wisdom contained between the covers of the Bible and I am fortunate to sit under the teachings of a remarkable pastor, Pastor Don Moore. Members of our church (Living Word Chapel in West Hurley, New York) are encouraged to teach and there are visiting pastors who stop by our church, I also study the Bible on my own and love sharing what I learn. One other passion is writing. My current work in process is a memoir. A scene from my memoir was published in a book called: Heavenly Company: Entertaining Angels Unaware - an anthology of angelic encounters compiled by Cecil Murphy. I'm hoping my memoir will encourage other survivors of abuse. I grew up in a home filled with abuse, including incest. For most of my life I was searching for something that would fill the void of not being loved by my parents. I tried many ways to find that love -- therapy, relationships, occult studies, and keeping my life so filled I had no way to think about my past. It was only when I discovered God that I was able to put the pieces of my life back together and walk forward in a joyous life. My nickname - wondering has changed from wondering where the heck God was in my life, to wondering what incredible adventure is going to happen next. I hope you enjoy my site. Please say hi, share some thoughts, and ask questions. I look forward to meeting you and checking out your sites. Have a blessed day. Heather
This entry was posted in 2007 Pastor Don Moore Teachings, Israel photos and commentary, personal, photos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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