The Dead Sea
It was a dreary rainy day but being Shebat it was the only day we had set aside to visit the Dead Sea. So we had breakfast and headed out.
First stop Qumran. The hillside cave where The Dead Sea Scrolls were written and found. This was amazing as the sights were excavated and they found all kinds of buildings and information about the men who wrote these scrolls.
We watched a video that basically said that John the Baptist was an apprentice with these men as a scribe and learned their bathing rituals done twice daily to cleanse them before sitting to write God’s word. And this is where John learned the concept of Baptism.
We then stopped at a factory that sells Dead Sea products. The way tourists were buying it up you would think it was free! But it is, at the sea across the street. That’s where I filled a freezer bag full of mud! Now can I bring it home in a carry on?
Then we drove onto Masada. Masada is a beautiful hilltop fortress that was built by a small tribe thousands of years ago. Then King Herod decided to build a palace there as his summer home. Later the Jews turned it into a fortress to defend themselves against the Romans. When defeat was eminent they drew lots and killed everyone then each other. The last man killing his fellow soldier then himself. When the Romans finally broke through they found everyone dead except 2 women and 5 children who were in hiding.
Then we drove to Ein Gehdi. This is where David hid from Saul. It was a beautiful valley with waterfalls in the middle of the dessert. This is where the Song of Psalms takes place.
Afterwards we visited an ancient synagogue where we met some hippie park Rangers.
We then hit the beach! Did I mention it had been raining all day and was cold out. The first beach was solid salt so we drove to a free area we had been directed to by the Rangers. We had about a 15 minute hike down to a hot spring that fed into the Sea. That way we had “fresh” water to rinse off with. It was fun floating and covering ourselves with mud.
Then we were starving and decided to drive into Jericho for some food. Um… Not my best idea! This is Palestinian territory. No more Israeli guards. The Palestinian Guards kept asking where we are from. I tried USA 8 different ways finally they got frustrated and let us pass. We drove around until I saw the Sons of Martyrs sign in front of a building. I’m not trying to get kidnapped and tortured on television. So we high tailed it out of there. Their new homes are actually beautiful and much nicer than the Jewish settlements. But nonetheless we needed to get back to safety. And food in front of the Damascus gate. Not the safest place for food but definitely the cheapest!
Then back to the hostel to wash the saltiness off of us.