Today's post comes to us from Tripp Gulledge....
At about 6:40 this morning, Tony was talking about our blog post for tonight and I leapt at the opportunity to write it! On the schedule for today was a hike to Ein Gedi (Hebrew for spring of the young goat.) This was the place where King David hid from Saul and likely wrote many of the psalms. I couldn’t wait to be in the place where the OG Hillsong album dropped!! This was also the place where Jesus was led to be tempted by Satan (see Matt. 4).
A bus ride fill of dadjokes later, and we were there. We began a treacherous hike up a narrow cliff face and stopped to look at the gorgeous Dead Sea and the ruins of an old temple along the way. About halfway up to what is known as, “The Lovers’ Cave,” a park ranger informed us that we could go no further because of the threat of rain in Jerusalem, which would flood the trails.
[Update: if it rains at all on our trip, Dr. Borders is buying us all lunch!]
We were a bit disappointed to turn around, but once again reminded of the theme of our adventures, “It’s About Orientation, not Destination.” We stopped on our way back down to read the story of Jesus’ temptation and discuss what it held for us.
After finishing our trek at Ein Gedi, we drove to Masada, an important site in Jewish history. It was here that hundreds of Jews were trapped by the Romans on a mountain, and chose to kill their families and themselves, rather than submit to slavery. As far as historical sites go, I found this to be the most gripping. It was powerful to see how the Jews fought for their honor in that way.
After exploring Masada, we took a very quick trip to Qumran, the home of a small Jewish sect, and best known as the place where the Dead sea scrolls were found. We didn’t spend a ton of time here because we were determined to gloat in salt!
[Fun Fact: the Dead Sea is 33% salt! (Your friendly neighborhood Atlantic Ocean is only about 3% salt.]
[Not Fun Fact: that water will wreck your eyes!]
After our float, we came back to the hotel and had dinner together. We concluded the day with a worship jam with our new friends from Western Carolina Wesley Foundation... we taught them our benediction!!! Look out for a big post tomorrow, as we find out how various team members spent their free days!
Shalom for now friends.