We went to the top of the fortress called Masada, which is perched on the cliffs that overlook the Dead Sea. This was a complex built by Herod the Great as a winter palace. It became the last refuge of nearly 1000 Jewish rebels and their families during the Roman invasion which happend @ A.D. 66-70. It took Titus Vespasian’s 15,000 soldiers a couple of years before they could breach the walls on top of the fortress and get inside. They found that all of the Jews had committed mass suicide rather than surrender themselves to the Romans.
From there we traveled to the oasis of En Gedi very near to the place where David and his men hid from Saul (I Sam. 24). No doubt he used that spring as a source of water.
Then, we went to Qumran, the place where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940’s. That was probably the most significant discovery proving the accuracy of our modern copies of the Old Testament.
On our way to our hotel in Jerusalem, we stopped in the Judean wilderness and took some time to meditate on the accounts of David as he wandered that area. Awesome experience. I wonder what Psalms David might have written as he walked those hills.
To top it all off, since it is the Jewish Sabbath, after dinner some of us walked into the city of Old Jerusalem, through the Jewish quarter to the Wailing Wall. It struck me as I looked at the only remaining portion of the foundation walls surrounding the Herodian Temple that Jesus’ prophecy that the structure would be torn down happened just as He said it would.
We will spend three days in Jerusalem.
Blessings to you all.