Although we spent the night in Jerusalem, we left in the morning to visit
several areas outside the city. On the outskirts, along the way, we saw left over, rusted tank, a remnant of the 1967 war,
bedouin camps, (there were some in the south as well, but did not post pics.),
and just outside Jericho, wild camels
Our first stop was Jericho.
This is the traditional Sycamore tree Zaccheus climbed! Taken from the bus, otherwise, I would have had to get Paul to climb up it for me!
From the top of the hill where old Jericho ruins are, were great views of the “new ” city.
This one with Jordan river in the background
and this with the Dead Sea in the background.
Very little excavation is being done here, and they claim there is “no archeological basis” for the Jericho walls, and the story is viewed only as an oral tradition.
A monastery is built into the mountains (Mt. Temptation) above.
A side note about our group. Our group ranged in age from 17 to 85!! The trip was very demanding physically. Marlene had had a stroke within just a few months prior to the trip, and was so pleased to still be able to come! Periodically on a walk, John would pick her up and help her keep up with the rest of the group. There was such a sweet spirit with the whole group!
On the way out of Jericho, we saw the American paid traffic lights(in a round about! And little traffic!)
drove along the American paid highway, and saw the American paid prison, complete with mosque…….
As we approached the Jordan River, 9400 foot Golan Mountains can be seen in Jordan
The churches are funded by Russians
The Jordan is fed by waters descending from Mt. Hermon.
It really is a very muddy river!
Many people get baptized here, though none of our group did.
Joshua 3 & 4, nothing happened until the priests put their feet in the water…. a picture of stepping by faith!! I had to put my feet in!!
Military presence was on both sides of the river.
A lot of the Jordan river is diverted from the Dead Sea for agricuture. Farming is a contrast to the surrounding desert!
The Dead Sea is receding 12″ per year due to diversion of the Jordan River for agriculture.
Qumran is where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. It is thought that they were hidden in pottery jars in the caves, intending to return for them later.
Ritual bath site
No one has lived here since 68AD, when it was destroyed. Temperatures of 110 degrees and little water made it hard to live.
It is located just above the Dead Sea. The earth’s lowest point is at 1371 feet below sea level. It is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world at 1083 feet, with a salinity of 30%
The white is salt, not waves!
Directly under the Dead Sea is a shift in continents, between the Syrian and the African continents. There are earthquakes every year. A divide in the mountains is part of the Kedron Valley and can be walked all the way to Jerusalem.
We saw Ahava headquarters, one of the major makers of products and cosmetics from the minerals of the Dead Sea, through the bus window.
En Gedi, where David hid in a cave when running from Saul was our next stop. ( I Sam. 23 , 24) Psalm 7, 42, 57 and 142 may have been composed by David here. One of our group was baptized here. Time prevented us from going all the way to the end, where another, larger waterfall was located.
we saw several of these cute Rock Hyrex
The next stop was Masada, Herod the Great’s winter palace, considered impregnable. This is an historical, not Biblical site. He built it to escape from Cleopatra! His buildings were all ahead of the times in terms of strength and amenities.
Tile floors still visible
as well as wall tiles
Steam bath, where water was heated outside, slaves pumped steam into pipes, heating the floors and room
Views from the top were phenomenal!
I think this was my favorite view!
Although we could take the tramway both ways, quite a few of our young, brave guys took the pathway down. (Including Paul!)
We ended the day at the Dead Sea….. no, we did not go all the way in, but several of our party did!
In fact, our group floated so well, they were able to do a little acrobatics!
We returned to Jerusalem for one more night before moving on!