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Heading South- following the Jordan River

I’ve never been so high when I’ve been so low. - Mickey-

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We said goodbye to the sea of Galilee today and started following the Jordan River south where we will end up at the southern end of the Dead Sea. Of course this is the lowest place on earth. We had a substitute bus driver today because our bus driver spent the day at the hospital with his daughter and a kidney stone issue. It sounds like everything resolved itself but we are not sure if we will get him back the rest of the tour. He was a great driver.

Our first stop on the trip south was at Bet Shean where there is a huge archaeological dig. This was from the time of King Saul and this was the city where he died and had his head raised on to the city gates. Sharon, Linda, Wynn and I sang How Great Thou Art at the bottom of the amphitheater. “Will put it up on video one of these days” We saw the public toilets… Can you guess which picture shows them? And we had quite a time wandering around the dig before the enemy buses came and flooded the place with more visitors. We were the first ones at the tel. Here are a few pictures of the tel

Then we made a stop at the traditional sight of Jesus‘s baptism in the Jordan River. We actually had to cross over the border into Jordan to get these pics. Guards from both nations were posted. This part of the Jordan River is so dirty and awful because Jordan dumped its garbage into the river. That is why we chose to be baptized farther up the river. Incidentally, we saw a representative Jim Jordan at this location from the state of Ohio. Even even took pictures with some of us. Funny story.

By now you can see that the terrain is quite different than the green hills of Galilee. We are starting to get into the sand mountains and then eventually down into the rocky craggy mountains. Continuing our journey south we stopped at Qumran, where the dead sea scrolls were found. We had a presentation and then got to walk around the dig of the town there and learned about the finding of the dead sea scrolls. We will actually see them when we get into Jerusalem tomorrow. we also ate our lunch here in a very crowded cafeteria with pretty high prices. Wynn and I decided to split a meal and that way I could get my Nestlé‘s ice cream bar.

Next stop was En Gedi. This time we did not have much of a history lesson but we did have a beautiful hike -the young and foolish went all the way to the top waterfall and the old and wise hiked to the small waterfall. Wynn and I split guess which way I went? We did see a couple of animals along the way- Wynn captured a bird and I captured a badger. this is the area where David was hiding in the back of the cave and Saul was in the front. David cut off the corner of Saul’s robe but would not lay his hand on the Lord‘s anointed.

Our last stop for the day was at the south end of the Dead Sea. We quickly got our room assignments, ran up and jumped into our swimsuits and headed to the Dead Sea. It is such a fascinating experience to feel your feet come up and floating with no force or effort needed. We actually even had a conga line in the water. If you went out farther enough you could bob without having your feet touch the bottom. Probably could’ve stayed out there longer but it was a little cool. We opted for rinsing off and coming into the hotel pool which was heated and warm. There were a couple of different pools available including a saltwater pool, freshwater pool, sulfur pool. You could also take a sauna or get a spa massage for a little bit extra. So these pictures got on a little out of order, but I think you can figure out which ones are the Dead Sea and which ones are the pool in the hotel. We have a nice room and one of those pictures shows a view of the Dead Sea from out of our window.
So now we are back in our room and have showered up and are ready to think about supper. It’s supposed to be a very nice dinner. We are looking forward to the trip to Masada and Jerusalem tomorrow. Still having a good time. The knees and the feet are hanging in there. Keep those prayers coming. I should add that Tim is feeling much better today and was able to participate fully in the trip. I have no doubt it was because so many of you were also praying for him. We are enjoying every minute. Until tomorrow…

Posted by brendagerber07 07:40 Archived in Israel

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Just found your emails and love traveling with you! Have a great time on your trip and thanks for including me in the emails.

by Barbara Hartley

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