This morning many of our group were going to be baptized at Yardenit, a Baptismal Site situated on the banks of the Jordan River at the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee. Although the actual biblical place where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist is believed to be in Jordan, on the east bank of the river opposite Jericho, this site at Yardenit has become a pilgrimage to many Christians around the world. Both William and I were baptized here when we toured Israel in 2018. Today our dear friend Sylvia would also walk into the waters of the Jordan River here at Yardenit. Pastor Don, a Baptist minister, traveling with our group would actually do the Baptismal service for many in our group. What a fond memory for our group to be able to announce that they were baptized in the Jordan River by “Don, the Baptist”
Our next stop was only 25 miles from the Baptismal Site at Bet She’an National Park. This is a well preserved archaeological site of a Roman City. Here you will see Streets lined with Tall Columns, Roman Baths, an Amphitheater, and Shops. However, the Biblical importance of this city is that it was here at Bet She’an where the bodies of King Saul and his Sons were hung on the city walls.
To help us better remember the map of Israel Shira give us quite a visual representation of her Country. We will always remember Ty becoming Israel here at Bet She’an.
Photo courtesy of Don Litton Photoworks
The Ancient synagogue of Bet Alpha is located in the Bet She’an Valley so it was a real delight to also visit this archaeological site. The mosaic floor is one of the most beautiful discovered in Israel.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are ancient Jewish and Hebrew religious manuscripts. The were accidentally discovered in 1946 at the Qumran Caves in Southern Israel by teenage shepherds. When one of the teens was throwing pebbles into the caves he heard a shattering sound. The boys returned later to find clay jars that housed the scrolls. William and I visited the Israel Museum on our first trip where we actually saw some of these scrolls. This time however, we would get to visit Qumran and see the caves below where the first Scrolls were found.
We arrived at our hotel at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, with just enough time to enjoy a quick float in the mineral rich salt waters. The salty water is also renowned for it’s health and healing properties of the mud. so I wasted no time at all covering my body with the “mud” before stepping into the waters to float. It’s interesting to note that the saline water makes your skin feel silky soft.
William always captures the best sunrise photos and this one of the sun rising over the Dead Sea the next morning is certainly worthy of sharing with you here.
We continued our journey in Southern Israel this morning at Masada. This ancient fortress, built by King Herod was the last strong hold of the Jewish revolt against the Romans where the Zealots chose death rather than to be enslaved by the Romans.
En Gedi Nature Reserve, the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea was our last stop in Southern Israel. It was here that David hid during his wanderings in the desert after fleeing from King Saul.
From En Gedi we made our way to Jerusalem. But before closing this post I think it would be nice to share a few pics of our new friends.