Greetings from Israel! This is Chelsea, Megan and Nicole reporting to you live from the Negev, also known as…the steaming hot desert of death. We started the day off with a beautiful sunrise over the Dead Sea, followed by an extensive buffet for breakfast at the lovely Mariah Hotel. Our epic day of hiking started with a 45 minute bus ride to Tel Arad, a Canaanite village that was demolished and rebuilt by the Israelites. Rich spoke on hospitality all among the ruins of the ancient city, focusing on the common Bible verse “love you neighbor as yourself”. We went through a few passages in Genesis, Exodus and Leviticus for us to realize how important hospitality was to all the peoples from biblical times. Our favorite verse was Romans 12:9-13. We felt that this was the verse that really captured the importance of hospitality in our everyday lives. “Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil: cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful and hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Little did we know, right after we read this passage, we were about to see this love and hospitality put into practice for us.
We hiked…over the rock hills and through the dust, to the Bedouins’ village we go! =) To our left we saw a camel family: a daddy, a mommy, and a baby. And to our right, a Bedouin shepherd tending his goats and sheep. We finally arrived to the Bedouin settlement, and sat down in a huge tent with our whole group. As they fought to serve all of us sweet tea and freshly baked bread, Boaz, our guide, talked about how in the Bedouin culture, hospitality was of the utmost importance. These women rushed to serve us and make us comfortable in every way possible, even though our group consisted of nearly 70 people. Through their actions and their way of life, they showed us how to literally put others before ourselves. We played with the kids and hung out for about half an hour, and some of the girls, including Nicole, bought some beautiful handmade scarves from the women in the village. We then collected our things and made the hot hike back to our buses, where delicious pita sandwiches awaited us for lunch. Megan loved the hummus with her pita bread!
Hopping back on the bus for an hour long ride, we arrived at Avdat a little after 1:30 Israel time, which means as you all were sleeping at 3:30 in the morning back in California, we were hiking up the side of a huge and blazing hot canyon. Avdat is the name of a spring that runs through a beautiful sandstone canyon. We hiked alongside the spring, then up the canyon walls…literally. Making our way up steep stone steps carved out of the canyon wall, and climbing straight up ladders, we reached the top of the high canyon and were awarded with the hot sun and an amazing view. The best part is that after we finish every grueling, hot, uphill hike, we look around and see a parking lot with our buses waiting for us less than 100 feet away. Rich always has to take the hard way. =)
Still, with the heat and all the dust, it was a great day. We are now headed back to our hotel and finishing our day up by taking a dip in our incredible pool overlooking the Dead Sea while the sun sets behind us. We started our day with a sunrise and ended it with a sunset.
On that note, this is Chelsea, Megan and Nicole signing off. Goodnight from Israel, and good morning to you! And that’s the way the cookie crumbles. =)
Click here for pictures from the trip or here to look at the past blogs from Israel. Tomorrow we are getting to our hotel late in the evening so we are not sure how mu
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Sunrise over the Dead Sea
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Sunset over the Dead Sea
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Thoughts from Rich and Becky
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Check out Kari’s Puppet Show of all your favorite Bible stories
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