Masada, Qumran … & an amazing Dead Sea swim

Today was our last full tour day as a group – and one of the best.

We headed off @ 8 am to Masada – World Heritage listed ancient Jewish fortress high atop a mountain plateau not far from the western shores of the Dead Sea.

Prior to this we stopped at the sycamore tree in Jericho climbed by Zaccheus.

Masada was amazing – this huge mountaintop palace/fortress dating back 2000 years and the final ‘holdout’ of the Jews at the time of the Jewish revolt of 70 AD. Incredible ruins and a somewhat daunting cable car ride up there .

After another kibbutz lunch it was off to Qumran; site of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovery by two Bedouin shepherds about 50 years back. To be so close to some of the caves was so special – considering that this discovery of ancient Essene scrolls of around the time f Christ predates what had been the oldest known Old Testaments by about 900 years!

Heading back to Jericho, we stopped for a swim in the Dead Sea – that was just so special: saltiest water imaginable, heaps of mud and the lowest spot on Earth (about 400 meters below sea level). A great experience!

Just got back from or tour party celebrating a final meal together at a local authentic Arabic restaurant here n Jericho.

Reflecting – this tour has been massively more profound in it’s Arabic influence than ever imagined it would be. Let’s face it, 5 of the nights were spent in the palestinian West Bank

So tomorrow morning come 8 o’clock the homeward journey begins, though not looking forward t catching a 3 am fight from Dubai on Tuesday morning . I pray the day is not too taxing. I pray also for the peoples of this Holy Land – Jew, Arab and Christian alike.

This tour has really brought home to me the realities and challenges for these three Abrahamic faiths and peoples

The opportunity to pilgrimage through these parts is something I so thank God for.

Salaam/Shalom

DAVID

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