Thursday, March 11, 2010

Israel Day 6: The Desert

Today has been so much fun!
The day started with a bus ride to the Ahava store/factory. All of their products are Dead Sea based, and plenty of people spent plenty of money on loved ones! It was a fun time, and there were alot of laughs.
After Ahava, we hopped back in the bus and headed for Masada. On the way we saw En Gedi (mentioned In the Bible, and historicaly belonged to Cleopatra). We also saw an Ibex on the way, which are native here!

Masada is historical on two levels. First, it was one of King Herod's desert retreats and is one of the amazing structers the crazy king had built duri g his life time. The second historical level is far nearer to the hearts of the Israeli people.
We learned from the writings if Josephus Flavius that Mosada was the last stronghold for the Jewish Rebels in ~72 AD against the Roman Empire. They were besieged in the old mountain fortress until the Romans realized they weren't moving anytime soon. At this point, the Romans built a huge earth ramp up to the wall of Mosada so that they could wheel a huge battering ram to the top and take the city. The Jews put up a fight, but couldn't hold out against the Romans' unyielding attack. The final desperate act was decided by the leader of the Jews, and all the people agreed to the plan. 10 people were chosen to kill the other families (men, women, and children) so that the Romans wouldn't make them their concubines and slaves. Finally, the leader of the Jews at Mosada was the last alive, and the only one who had to take his own life (considered a sin). This story of desperate measures has been passed down from person to person, and written down by Josephus Flavius and finally it was re-discovered, excavated, and can be journeyed to by tourists.
What an amazing place to see Biblical truth and historical record meet.

It's interesting to note that we were at Mosada at the same time as Mrs. Biden, the second lady. (pictured in pink)

-Dead Sea-
After Mosada we headed to the shore of the Dead Sea for some fun and floating! The super salty mineral rich water and mud is excellent for skin, and for a hilariously fun time! What a blast!

Today was a more relaxed easy-going day, and I think we all needed it. Tomorrow is a free day to explore Jerusalem for everybody except the High School Students (Shalom, Sara, Hannah, and me). We are volunteering at the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem! We're not sure what that means, but I'll keep you posted!


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