Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Day in the Desert

We began our day by heading to Mazada, the mountain-top palace of King Herod, which is out in the middle of nowhere -- even in the first century it was in the middle of nowhere.  But wow.  Everytime I am up there I am amazed at what he built up there and how he created a place of beauty overlooking the beauty of the desert and the dead sea.  Of course we know that all that self-glorification leads eventually to destruction.  Our purpose was to look at the culture of this man who was the Roman, Jewish King and contrast that to another King who was born in Bethlehem.  We also discuss the Zealots and what happened to them on Mazada.

Jim and Jeanie Drake on top of Mazada

James Beach being illuminated in an ancient cistern on top of Mazada

Sue Tomlinson comtemplating

Mary Lou Boon and Jack Brown on top of Mazada with the Dead Sea in the background

We also made a brief appearance at En Gedi, mountain hide-out of David when he was being sought after by King Saul (see 1 Samuel 24).   There in the middle of the desert was a small waterfall which the locals were using as a swimming hole.

We also paid a brief visit to Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered.  Learned a lot about John the Baptist and the Essenes.

A modern day swimming old in an ancient waterfall

Our day was completed by driving "up" to Jerusalem, and settling in at Christ Church.  Christ Church is located in the Old City and is the oldest Protestant Church in the Middle East.  Wonderful place.  Looking forward to good week here.  Shalom from Jerusalem.

Our group walking into the Old City of Jerusalem

The oldest Anglican Church in the Middle East - where we are staying

Our room at Christ Church

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