• Written by Sarina Gilliland

Today’s wandering led us through the last stretch of the desert. As we maneuvered the mountains from the Dead Sea we headed towards an oasis in the desert, Ein Gedi! As we left the bus we were met with a beautiful paradise along with a park full of ibex (wild mountain goat like animals) and rock badgers who greeted us with morning interest. As we ascended up the waterfall-filled trails, we were continually struck with awe and wonder. The coolness of the water and its sweet taste was refreshing to our hot bodies.

As interesting as that all was the coolest part was to think that David himself had been here in his flee from Saul. It is no question why he would have chosen such a place for refuge. The beautiful sight also gave such insight into the beautiful words of Psalm 63 especially verse one: “O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”
Our Hebrew tour guide, Dan, also had great insight on Psalm 69. In the dessert there are occasional freak storms that cause flash floods that are devastating if caught in.

After our time in Ein Gedi we continued to another important and fascinating sight, Qumran. This was an interesting sight as we learned a little of the culture of the Essenes and their scribal writings significance to the Old Testament. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by a Bedouin shepherd boy would provide evidence that the Old Testament was canonized and written way before 900 A.D. (which was the earliest manuscripts found prior to the Dead Sea Scrolls). 

A highlight was learning of the meticulous detail put into the making of a scroll from start to finish. First they make the scroll from goat or sheep skin sewn together. Then it is written on with ink made form the ash of trees mixed with sap. After years or so of work, painstakingly copying each word of the Scriptures, it is meticulously counted by word and letter for mistakes … and if one was found, the entire document was discarded. What a picture of Jesus! It was a thought provoking and fascinating place for those who love history and archeology.

Our next stop was a familiar site to anyone who had an elementary knowledge of the Biblical narrative. The City Jericho. Tucked in the middle of modern day Jericho, the ancient city stood like a mountain of rocks and dust. Like the Biblical sights before the awe of being somewhere where actual events took place and getting a better picture of the layout was exhilarating. We had the privilege to hear Nathan talk on Rahab and the Christophany of the red cord in this location as well as hear Dan speak on the history of monasteries. Quite interesting stuff. This was also where we got to have lunch in a nice spot surrounded by date palms and other plants and in view of a replica of a mosaic map used by earlier Christian pilgrims. The lunch was a treat of local Shwarma and we had a delightful desert of crispy string-like noodles and syrup on top of some cheese known as knafe. Delicious!! With our tummies full we explored a local bazaar and continued to our last sight for the day. The River Jordan.

This last stop was where many believe John the Baptist actually baptized people in the Jordan. It was breathtaking to think that Jesus and John had been in this area and also the children of Israel. After some lessons on the Biblical/historical significance of Jordan as a place of transition, remembrance, and repentance, a few of us dipped our feet in the Jordan’s murky water and looked at the country of Jordan across the river. That brings the end of this days adventure and like the Children of Israel our journey in the desert.

Shalom in Messiah!


Interested in learning about future Israel Study Tours? Our next trip is scheduled for April 2020 and details/registration will be announced early September. Go to to sign up for details/updates and to be notified first when the trip officially opens up.

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