ISRAEL PILGRIMAGE- FRIDAY- 19 November 2010
We left New Orleans on Wed. 17 Nov and flew to Atlanta, five-hour layover and then on to Tel Aviv. The trip was very long and I slept about 6 hours of the 11-hour flight.
We arrived at Tel Aviv about 5:30pm on Thu. 18 Nov. I think I was just slow after so much sleep because I left my Tilley Outdoor hat on the plane. I need my wife to keep me straight. Each morning when I go to work she grills me checking if I have keys, phone, wallet, etc. If she doesn’t invariably I leave something behind. By the time we got to baggage claim I realized my error and had thoroughly chastened myself and wasn’t sure if I was going to tell my wife back home in New Orleans that I had lost my hat. I felt a bit embarrassed and not being a hat person had grown attached to my hat. Anyway, words to the wise, don’t ever mentioned you’ve lost something at the airport in Tel Aviv. I went by lost and found and 1 hour later we finished with security, the bus was loaded and we were on our way. The gate enclosure at the airport wouldn’t let us out. That took another 10 minutes. As we left the airport heading south with a 2-hour drive ahead of us I was feeling a bit low because we had wasted so much time but the Lord worked it all out. We arrived at Ramon Inn at Mitzpa Ramon about 9:20pm and they had a great meal set out for us. Our rooms were very good and we had a good nights sleep.
Friday morning was beautiful. It was cool outside in the high mountain desert. A great Israeli breakfast and off we went. Today would be a long touring day. We left Mitzpa Ramon and went first to the Ramon Crater. It looks like a beautiful, wild, huge crater and is stunning. Not unlike the first time you see the Grand Canyon. Pictures and oohs and aahs and on the bus.
Comments and prayer on the bus and it was time to get off at the ancient Nabataean site of Avdat. We visited the two churches on the site and discussed its history and accomplishments. We especially talked about the Roman period of ownership. It is an interesting era and a unique people group. They had caravan cities that stretched from Yemen to Egypt and later as Roman cities were significantly advanced in their agricultural accomplishments. We had a short first stop at the Avdat Aroma coffee shop for very good coffee. Then we loaded the bus and off we went heading north. We would drive north all day.
Beersheba was our next stop. A place of the Patriarchs., Abraham arriving here from ancient Ur in modern day Iraq. The well, the ancient tel, group pictures, and J.P. Cox giving an outstanding devotional and then back to the bus for our trip north.
We had a very good lunch at En Boqeq on the Dead Sea. This was our second Aroma coffee shop stop and we had salads and sandwiches for lunch and of course coffee.
Masada was our next stop. It is a formidable desert fortress about 90 or so kilometers from Jerusalem. Our group was properly impressed and overwhelmed by the massive outpost. Gilla did an excellent job of its history and future. Never again is the heart cry of those that have returned to Israel. Never again.
Now, it is 3:30pm and we are just leaving Masada. Qumran closed at 3pm but when we got there at 4:15pm we were able to get in and see the site. The place where the ancient scrolls were discovered is a special place to visit. Jim Parker who did his doctoral dissertation on the people at Qumran gave an excellent presentation of his thoughts on what happened, who did and why. The group then finished our site visit by walking up through the community and seeing the location of cave 4. A short period of shipping followed. Back to the bus and then a 2 hour drive to Maagan at the southern end of the Galilee. We got there about 7pm just in time for dinner.
We had several devotionals on the bus today and Dr. Dukes began our Bible Study, Encounters with Jesus in the Gospel of John. We enjoyed part two tonight after dinner. Rex Butler gave a presentation on Masada as we drove to it. Dr. Parker did our morning devotional after our visit at Avdat and will lead us in devotionals each morning this trip.
I’m tired and it has been a good day. Pray for us as we continue our Israel Pilgrimage tomorrow. We will return home on Sat 27 Nov and would appreciate your continued prayers.