Hello Friends and Family,
This morning we left Jerusalem and headed the 25 miles and 3600 ft drop in elevation down to the Dead Sea area. On the way we stopped in the Judean Wilderness and visualized the Parable of the Good Samaritan and Jesus being tempted in the wilderness at the beginning of his ministry.
When we made it to the Desert floor we arrived at the Oasis of Jericho. Here the famous battle of Joshua took place and Elisha miraculously turned bitter water into drinkable water. We visited the Spring of Jericho and saw the Old City walls (that have since fallen lol).
(The Spring of Elisha at Jericho)
After Jericho we drove over the Jordan River at the baptismal site of Jesus. There we reflected on John's baptism of Jesus at the same location where the people crossed over into the promised land with Joshua and Elijah and Elisha crossed as well. Again, it was another reminder of how the history and geography echoes throughout the Old and New Testament stories. We also had two pairs of our pilgrims, father son pair Matt and Brian and husband and wife duo Amy and Russ, baptize each other in the Jordan as well all gathered around and prayed for and rejoiced with them in this significant moment.
(Greg at the Jordan River)
(Pilgrims from all over the world gather at the Jordan River)
At that point in the day the temperature was nearing 100 degrees, so we went over to Qumran, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls and had lunch in the air conditioned cafeteria. We quickly explored the site of this important Essene community that copied and preserved biblical texts and others dating back 2100 years which gives us proof of the reliability of Scriptural transmission of manuscripts throughout the centuries.
(Caves at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered)
At this point the temperature was 110 degrees, so we headed down to the Dead Sea to float and cool off. It is such a unique experience that can only be done here on planet Earth. We enjoyed the surreal feeling of only being able to float in the Dead Sea, no doggy paddling, no diving, just floating in the lowest point on earth where you can still breathe oxygen.
Finally, hot and tired, we arrived at our hotel for tonight, Kibbutz Kalia. This desert oasis has air conditioned rooms and a pool for us to cool off in. We are refreshed and looking forward to another day in the desert tomorrow, thought it is supposed to cool down to only 90 degrees.