Recently, I took a short hiatus from work and writing to embark on a journey to the Holy Land, and upon my return I’ve been gathering my thoughts and notes from the most amazing trip I have ever taken! Over the next few weeks I’d like to share that experience with you through pictures and words. This experience will forever change the way I read and understand the Bible, and the people of Israel have become permanent residents in my heart and prayer life. I pray this little journey with you will be a blessing to you as well! Something Jews say when they are longing for home is, “next year in Jerusalem”, but I think the pastor who coordinated this trip to Israel said it well when he said, from this day forward we will say, “remember when we were in Israel…”, as we long for the return of Jesus, remembering how we walked in His steps and visited the places where He began a work that has changed the world!
Our journey began as soon as we landed in Tel Aviv, Israel. We met our guide, Mickey, and headed toward the bus where our driver, Udi, awaited our group. Mickey is a wealth of knowledge, consistently teaching us from the scriptures at each and every one of our 30 plus stops. Udi gets kudos for the most incredible driver, maneuvering the bus at 90 degree angles through crazy traffic, always with a smile! Once on board, we headed toward the Dead Sea which is toward the eastern edge of Israel (Tel Aviv on western edge)…with the entire country of Israel being the size of Rhode Island, traveling between sites is just a short bus ride, and many times a walk, to the next incredible evidence of biblical proportions (pun intended)!
The Dead Sea
We arrived at the Dead Sea after dark and checked into our rooms and then gathered for dinner. I may say this more than once, but the food is absolutely amazing in Israel! From the hummus at every meal, to the salads, falafel (my new favorite food), breads, veggies…I was beyond satisfied with the food and could easily change my entire diet to a Mediterranean style! But enough of the food…now I am hungry!
After dinner, a small group of us ventured down to the Dead Sea to float. The Dead Sea is 30% salt, so the buoyancy is something that is flat amazing! You cannot sink!
At 417 meters below sea level (almost 1,400 feet), the Dead Sea is the lowest surface point on the face of the earth! As obvious by the name, nothing can live within the Dead Sea due to its salt and mineral content. Yet, the sea is mined for these minerals, and even a “lower” (south of the original Dead Sea) portion of the sea has been formed for mining and distributing the vast amount of salt and minerals found in that body of water. You see, water flows into the Dead Sea but there is no outward flow…all fresh water enters the sea and then become part of the mineral sea. A lot of the water evaporates due to the harsh climate, so it is not surprising that the sea is shrinking. What is surprising is that it is shrinking by 11 inches per year!
Something amazing in scripture is how Ezekiel describes the end times…when Jesus returns. He describes how fresh water will flow from the temple toward and into the Dead Sea, and once it enters, the Dead Sea will become fresh.
Ezekiel 47:8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea (Dead Sea); when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh.
Being right there, it is easier to understand how this could occur. The distance between the Temple and the Dead Sea is only about 12 miles (as the bird flies). Based on that, and the fact that the Dead Sea is shrinking, it becomes increasingly clear that once God releases the water from the area of the temple, and it flows directly toward the Dead Sea that is continually getting shallower, this prophecy can, and will, be fulfilled! Whether it be by a miraculous transformation of salt water to fresh, or simply an overtaking of the remaining salt water by the fresh water, it was prophesied to occur thousands of years ago! Prophecy is playing out in so many ways in Israel, we just have to keep our eyes and ears open enough to be amazed by the accuracy and validity of the scriptures! The way I read scripture has forever changed!
Next post we will visit Ein Gedi – the Oasis in the Desert! Until next time, Shalom (Peace)!