Shalom from Israel!
Today was hot, sweaty, and we loved it! Day three has been the best day yet! Our morning began with an epic hike through the Zin Wilderness in a place called Avdat. We descended into a riverbed to scale the side of a canyon with stairs, ladders, and pure excitement. When we reached the top the view made it well worth the effort and when numerous pictures had been taken it was time to head to our next hiking quest. Click here to see photos from today.
The bus then drove us to a Canaanite village called Tel Arad. Rabbi Rich brought us to an old well where we could visually understand the communities’ water system and how important the reservation of water was in a place where it only rained about 2 inches each year. The pigeons that occupied the well weren’t too happy with our visit as we mostly tried to hit them with stones and spit on them. We walked to the near temple where we saw the holy of holies and how the Jews disrespected God by adding an addition pillar for Asherah, a pagan God. Rich’s friend Dan who joined our trip gave an amazing sermon on how we should look at this as a bad example not to follow and that this anger should motivate us to make God our all and all, being all that we need. The warm sun and exhausting heights made lunch all the better as we got to enjoy a make your own Israeli sandwich.
After lunch we hiked a mile or two to a Bedouins house and got to experience first hand the definition of hospitality. Bedouin’s will take care of all your needs as soon as you show up, with out any warning 70 people flocked to this home and we all were given a matted place to sit in the shade, a delicious cup of sweet tea and homemade bread. This hospitality showed us how to love others as Christ loves, and that if we are not hospitable it is as if we don’t fully love God. Not only did we get to see God’s hospitality at work but Boaz (our Israeli tour guide) filled us in on the hierarchy of a Bedouin family. The oldest woman stressfully ordered her daughters to serve us as these woman fought over the privilege to help. The woman also wore bright clothes in order that a man can make no mistake in getting to close to them. The Bedouins have a lot of things going for them but it still left us sad knowing that they are missing Jesus, while still convicting us to live out our faith how they live out their life.
Another hour long bus ride back to the hotel and it was time to head into the Dead Sea, which had been taunting us from the hotels view of it ever since we arrived. Brad Bell started the adventure off with comparing the dead sea to our faith, and though it is fully nourished with minerals and has potential much like we are after spending 8 months at Joshua, all that can turn into nothing more than a dead waste land if we don’t do something with our faith. If no one took salt and other minerals out of the sea the body of water would be completely useless as nothing can grow or survive in it. With that final realization we walked down to the shore and entered the burning sea of salt. It defiantly burned every cut and every inch of your body that you would never want to be burned. The further we went in we suddenly floated with out control but couldn’t last long from the aching pain the water brought to our eyes and hiking battle wounds. Still, it was a perfect end to an incredible day and we can’t wait for what God has to teach us tomorrow and the rest of the week!
– Michael and Amy