There will never be another Masada:                                                        May 1, 2016

After being led by our drill sergeant (just kidding Hela) the last few days, we were allowed ease into the day.  This allowed Kim and I to take a float, and I mean FLOAT in the Dead Sea.  Our first stop this morning was Masada, an amazing story Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.27.06 PM centered around almost a thousand Jews who were not going to be taken alive by Roman forces.

Masada was initially built by Herod the Great as his personal palace, or palaces as he constructed three separate structures atop a thousand foot vista.  Although he only visited the place once, it must have been quite the site.  Following his death it was virtually abandoned, only to be occupied by a group of Jews that fled Jerusalem following its’ destruction in 70a.d. by the Romans.  Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.26.41 PMThe Romans followed them to the foot of Masada and laid siege upon the fortress.  It wasn’t until 73a.d. that the army completed a ramp towering up to the entrance and burned out the city gate.  Upon entering the site, the Romans found only two women and five children alive.  The rest had committed suicide rather than succumbing to their captors.  It was this fortitude to their cause and beliefs that eventually caused the Prime Minister of Israel some 1900 years later make the statement, “There will never be another Masada”.  This location is one of the most visited attractions in Israel.

Inorder to reach the site you take a tram up the mountain.  There is a path called theScreen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.26.26 PM “Snake Trail”, that winds up the hill.  Kim and I wanted to take the path down, (Yes, I hate snakes!) but since the temperature was over 100 degrees they wouldn’t allow it.  Let me say, “It was really her idea.”

Next on today’s adventure was En Gedi, the place where David was hiding from King Saul.  In 1 Samuel 24 we find that David actually had the opportunity to kill Saul, but chose not to.  We walked up a path to a small waterfall and saw a few Ibex, a small mountain dwelling goat.  After we left this area, we traveled north along the Dead Sea eventually turning west.  Before making it to Jerusalem for the evening, we stopped at a place called Abraham’s tent.  A re-inactment of Abraham leaving his family home in Ur of the Chaldeans eventually traveling to Canaan where he establish his new home.  Following this historical lesson, we enjoyed a feast put on by our guide Abraham.  The real fun was centered Screen Shot 2016-05-01 at 9.27.39 PMaround watching everyone ride a camel.

We finally made it to Jerusalem early this evening and settled into our Hotel.  We will be staying here the next four nights which will bring us to the conclusion of this “Steps of Jesus Tour”.  But it ain’t over yet, there is still plenty of things to see.  Tomorrow we visit the Western Wall, a place of prayer for all.  This is a special site since behind this wall once stood the ark of the Covenant.  People still gather there today for prayer.  Our tour guide (Hela) asks us to write on a piece of paper those that we would like to submit a prayer for.  I have many that will be mentioned.  One will be you who are reading this blog, “I pray that you may feel a portion of the blessings we feel experiencing this opportunity.