Day 10 - The Judean Wilderness and the Dead Sea

OK. So this was our last day to travel in Israel. If you've looked on a map at any point, you can see that we went all over the country. Israel is about the size of Rhode Island though, so it didn't take long to go most places. If you drove all the way from south to north, it would be about the same as driving from Ardmore to Perry. Except much more hilly and completely different scenery in most places. From the Dead Sea area to the Sea of Galilee--that's more like from Norman to Perry, but with a significant change in elevation. Still Jesus covered some distance as he walked from place to place.

I woke up early this day and got the sunrise while it was still red.

I also took a picture of a roof of a house. The tanks are water tanks, where they store their water. They don't get water everyday, so they store it when they get it for the rest of the week. I believe the tour guide in Jordan said they get it every two days right now. I'm not sure what it was in Israel. They were in a drought. Since the tanks are on the roof, that also helps the water pressure in the houses.

The graffiti on the wall at the checkpoint, crossing into Jerusalem:
Graffiti covered the walls, and most all I could see was pictorial like this one was, and not just tags. Marty toured some of the graffiti there down by Banksi, which you can see on this link. Not sure which ones he saw.

Anyway, our first site this day was the Wadi Qelt overlook. The Wadi Qelt is the valley running between Jerusalem and Jericho, and would have been the road familiar to those who listened to Jesus' parable of The Good Samaritan. It was really a beautiful overlook.
We also met several traders here. John and Abby even rode a Bedouin's camel.

Our second site was Masada. Apparently there is a movie about it, but not surprisingly (if you know me at all), I haven't seen it. We didn't get to see Masada since it was closed for the week, but were able to tour the museum and watch a video about it. After watching the video, I think the site was more meaningful for the Jewish groups that were allowed to hike up there. I think this picture was taken while we were there, of the Dead Sea.

Since we were not at Masada long, we were able to spend more time at Ein Gedi Nature Preserve. In hindsight, being able to hike up to a secluded waterfall oasis was much better than hiking up a desert path to the top of a desert plateau. I really like it here. Ein Gedi is mentioned in several places in the Old Testament, including in 1 Samuel when David was hiding from Saul. It would be a great place to hide, with lots of caves and rocks and a refreshing stream down below.

Next we visited Qumran.We toured the ruins there, believed to be that of the Essenes. We could also see several of the caves in the distance where the Dead Sea scrolls were found.

A ritual bath area.

Our last stop was at the Dead Sea. We slathered some slimy mud on us, and then washed it off with super salty water. I think the salt canceled out the magical properties of the mud, at least for me. It was still fun to float, though, and for once my feet didn't sink.
 The rules. A little alarming really.
 A very happy boy. He was chasing his sister with a huge handful of mud.

 It looks like we are sitting on something but we are floating. The water was just really cold so it was a bit hard to lean back and relax.

This last picture, from our drive back through Jerusalem, has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was funny. I don't know how those two couches are staying there with just two straps.