Posted in Israel

En Gedi: these caves look like the real thing

On our way home from a day at the Dead Sea, we had the chance to stop at En Gedi, a place of springs and caves where David hid while running away from King Saul. Saul was so jealous of David’s popularity that he tried several time to kill him. David found refuge in this place where only ibex usually leapt up and down the cliffs.

After visiting so many places of Jesus’ ministry that had been built over with churches, shrines, traditions and souvenir shops, my wife and I found this place to be quite different. Looking up at the caves on the nearly vertical cliffs, she said, “This seems like the real thing.” There was nothing artificial or modern about this oasis. We could imagine just hard it would have been to look for and find David and his army in a place like this. Standing beneath the waterfall, I could imagine just how refreshing it must have been to find a place like this out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but the starkest wilderness.

Where would you go if you had to run for your life? Where would you hide if you didn’t want to be found? Would it even be possible in our time to be off the grid like David?

Posted in Israel, Travel

Israel (Day 6)

Cave at Qumran

Our journey today took us first to Qumran, where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. The uncovered ruins revealed much about a community that was able to thrive in a dry, barren, hilly wilderness. Ibex wandered ahead of us on the path to see some of the caves.

Ibex joined our tour

That wilderness seemed to go on forever as we drove to Masada, where we saw Herod’s fortress and the place of the Zealots last stand in AD 73. I remember watching the TV miniseries with great interest in 1981. (You can watch it now on Amazon Prime.)

Masada

We took the cable car to the fortress remains to see the palace complex, the siege ramp, and an amazing view.

En Gedi waterfall

On our way to a beach on the Dead Sea we stopped at Wadi David, or the springs of En Gedi where David hid from King Saul. We didn’t go too far in, just enough to see a beautiful waterfall.

I did get to float in a very warm Dead Sea under a clear blue sky. Some in our group applied lots of mineral rich mud in pursuit of younger looking skin.

Today was great from start to finish. Tomorrow, we’re back in Jerusalem.