Dead Sea Odyssey 422 metres below sea level – 4: Ein Gedi springs

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Ein Gedi is an interesting phenomenon, its a little oasis just on the other side of main road from the Dead Sea.

Its odd that a body of water completely sterile of life has a stunningly attractive beauty spot a few hundred metres away.  Here at Ein Gedi you walk along twisty paths around large boulders and streams, see unusual animals not seen in Europe, and follow your way around streams that twist around rocks and paths up to a big waterfall.  Ein Gedi served as a water source during biblical times.  Joshua 15 : 62 and 1 Samuel 24 : 1-2 feature this place.  The Bible  records that 3,000 years ago hid from King Saul at Ein Gedi. When David surprised the King and spared his life after finding him unarmed, Saul said David would succeed him on the throne.

Not far from Ein Gedi, is Qumran one of the most significant archaeological sites here in Israel as the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.

There are more unusual animals, in this case its these little critters, Rock Badgers,  officially called Hyrax, large rodents that seems to dwell around mountainous places with sources of water.

When I came here before in 2006, some people on the tour chose to get baptised here.  Often the river Jordan is the main choice for that amongst Christian pilgrims here, but Ein Gedi is just as good. 🙂

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Dead Sea Odyssey 422 metres below sea level – 1: The snake trail at Massada

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My friend Magnus from Sweden who I work with and Marcel from the Netherlands who works for another Christian organisation in Jerusalem decided to spend a weekend on a trip, as Magnus was close to the end of his volunteer time in Israel.

Various different ideas were discussed on a biblical place to go, maybe Jericho (although didn’t manage to fully research safety and security in this place) or more of the Galilee. In the end we decided to check out the Dead Sea. I have been there twice before but not recently, but where as before I went up in a cable car, this time this would be a gruelling climb up the ‘snake trail’ at 3am, a zigzag path that goes right up to the top of the Masada fortress where a Jewish community once lived before tragically committing suicide after being hopelessly surrounded by the Roman army.  More information on Masada here.

After the shock of getting up at 3am to get there to see the sun rise and not have the intense midday heat when hiking up the path, this was definitely worth it I think 🙂

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