We headed out to “Tel Arad” park. Tel Arad was mentioned in (Numbers 21:1-3). The one fact is the only discovered “holy of holies” and it was interesting to see an actual sacrificial alter.
Here is a picture of the temple and view showing the mountain range.
The view was pretty amazing, the weather was overcast, windy. You are starting to see the terrain starting to change. Yes, even a mirage. I did mention things were changing correct?!
Our next stop was the Dead Sea. The pictures I have of the Dead Sea do not even come close to describe how awesome the scenery is. I took more pictures (over 700 on the second day in Israel). Of all the things “I did” in Israel, the ride to the Dead Sea, swimming was the coolest.
Here are a few examples of the scenery to the Dead Sea. It’s amazing the first day we see the “land of milk and honey”, the next day we see the total opposite.
The ride from Arad to the Dead Sea wasn’t too long, an hour or less. Here is a panoramic view of the Dead Sea as we first got to see it.. God’s finger prints are all over this area of Israel especially, there are some unique things, lowest place on earth, and the richest in minerals. They said if Dead Sea dried up, there is enough fertilizer to stock the earth for 1000 years (or something like that it was a long time).
Here is some more scenery
We headed to Masada, a place built by Herod the Great. Of all the stories that really came to life in the Old Testament, it was at Masada. Masada was not only the place Herod built, it was used by the Jews as the last stand in 66 AD. Orthodox Jews, who live in Israel, do not come to this place, because they don’t recognize what happened here. I learned the name Josephus Flavius when visiting Masada and how important his writings are.
His writings are some of the primary materials used for history besides the Bible. Here is a view of the Dead Sea from Masada
There is a cable car that takes you up to Masada. The incline is approximately 1500 ft.
The view was AMAZING! Moving on, I could have stayed at Masada a few days. The size of the actual complex was big. There were several structures at Masada
The bathing houses were in amazing condition, here are a few pics showing the bathing houses. The tiles you see are original. I hope my bathroom last this long and looks this good.
Another location that was unique was the Synagogue. The places where people are setting are original. You might see the ‘blue’ line, that is the original building, everything above is rebuilt to as close as possible. It’s amazing!
Some of the terms I learned here was “lots”, the Jews “cast Lots” to see which order the Jews would commit suicide. Ever heard the term “Your Lot in life”, it originated here.
Mineral rich eh?
Can you imagine if this was your view out your back yard!
After spending an hour or two at Masada, we headed to Qumran, the location where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. The Essenes were the people who copied the ancient scriptures; they believed one of their purposes was to be “keepers” of the Holy writings. I hadn’t heard of the Essenes before visiting Qumran. Here are some representations of the pots they found the Scrolls in.
Here is an example of the caves around Qumran I don’t recall them showing us the exact cave, but this shows a good example.
The weather was overcast when visiting Qumran. God was shining some rays down.
We ate lunch at Qumran. They had a decent variety of food, the people running the café had a great price $10.00 for food / drink. People were lined up, they were making some serious cash!
In my normal adventure, I’m always looking for interesting signs. So is it an exit or not?
Before heading to Jericho, we headed to the Dead Sea to take a quick swim. I felt like a human fishing bobber. I walked out so far where I couldn’t feel the bottom. As I mentioned, of all the things I “did”, swimming in the Dead Sea was the coolest! I didn’t get any pictures of me swimming; I took my pocket camera and captured a couple pictures. That is 418 below sea level. There is rumor there even might be some video of me swimming, I’ll never tell……
After visiting Arad, Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran, we headed to Tiberias. After two days, you wouldn’t think things could get any better, we were just getting started.
While heading north to Tiberias, we headed to Jericho, the oldest City on earth. We had to cross a security checkpoint, Jericho is controlled by the Palestine Authority.
Jericho had a different feel to it, some poverty (which shocked me a little), make shift homes and here is a guard shack. It was a change after being in other areas of Israel.
As we headed north, we had to go through the checkpoint back into Israel controlled territory. There was a picture opportunity to show the checkpoint, but there was a sign that said “no photos”. There was a guy about 6’4” with an automatic weapon. I took the safe approach and didn’t get the picture. While we were at the checkpoint, two Israel security guides boarded our bus just to make sure things were safe. We also saw I believe 4 or 5 tanks as we headed north to Tiberias.
As we headed north, the terrain started to green back up.
We arrived in kibbutz ma’agan in Tiberias. Here is a picture of the Sea of Galilee.
The lighted city is Tiberias
Second day in Israel in the books, I couldn’t believe I had six more days at this point. The term “God’s country” had a new meaning, I didn’t think of that until I was writing this story. Pictures can only do so much, but the peace I felt from seeing the Sea of Galilee and what happened here, was indescribable. I couldn’t believe it.