Dan's Daily Diary
Each day, I intend to take photos and notes and write a description of what our team has experienced and learned together. When applicable, I will also include Scriptural references that correspond with the Biblical sites we are exploring. Our host guide, Keshet Education Journeys has provided additional resources that I will include as well. https://www.keshetisrael.co.il
Thank you for following our journey!
Blessings and Shalom,
Days 10 - 11 below
Back to Day 1
If you have seen the movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom…please start humming that theme song now! Today our team had the amazing experience of visiting one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Our bus took us to the southern tip of Israel near Eliat where we saw the northern part of the Red Sea. Saudi Arabia was 25 kilometers away. We crossed the border and entered “No Man’s Land” early in the morning and had to show our passports five times through various checkpoints and controls. After arriving in the Kingdom of Jordan we drove two hours in the mountainous terrain towards this ancient city carved into the bedrock.
On the way, we saw two important sites in the Hebrew Scriptures…the traditional burial spots of Aaron and Moses. Aaron is said to have died on Mount Hor and today there is a shrine at the very top of the mountain honoring him. You can click on the links below to read these stories.
Moses was not allowed to lead his people from Moab into the Promised Land and died on Mount Nebo, which was across from the town of Jericho.
Once at Petra, we entered the ancient city through the famous "Siq - a narrow natural
gorge that guarded the secret entrance to Petra. It was about a 5-mile walk there and back but the weather was perfect. We got to see the famous treasury building, the necropolis, the great temple, the theater, and other tombs built into this vast area.
The area around Petra has been inhabited from as early as 7000 BC, and the Nabataeans might have settled in what would become their capital city as early as the 4th century BC.
Petra is geologically incredible as well as a remarkable engineering and artistic masterpiece. You can learn more by visiting this site: https://www.visitpetra.jo/#slide-1
We had lunch at a wonderful Jordanian restaurant and then proceeded back to the border crossing into Israel. Our group celebrated Israeli Independence Day back at our kibbutz and the realization that our journey here in the Holy Land is coming to an end.
We will have one more full day of experiences, conversations, reflections, and memories together before we return home but will celebrate our remaining moments together with great joy, faith, hope, and love.
Sleep!! We were able to rest in the morning and enjoy the beautiful desert surroundings of the Kibbutz Ketura Guest House. We toured the Kibbutz and learned about the lifestyle, desert agriculture, conservation, and environmental challenges and about the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies which brings together Jordanian, Palestinian, Israeli, and other students from all around the world.
To learn more about this fascinating and inspiring work, visit https://arava.org
The modern-day kibbutz is reforming, but sharing resources, caring for one another, and living communally is still part of its core. This particular community is an incubator of ingenuity, especially in terms of solarization, desert agricultural advancements, and date trees. One of its members successfully grew date trees from 2,000-year-old seeds discovered at Masada. They were delicious! Read more here: https://www.jpost.com/jerusalem-report/article-692415
We drove down to the seaside town of Eilat, which is located at the northern end of the Red Sea. As it was Israeli Independence Day, many people were celebrating, swimming, and boating on this gorgeous body of water. From that point, Jordan is right across the water, Saudi Arabia is 25 kilometers south and the Egyptian border was only minutes away. In Eilat, we visited a camel ranch and every member of our team had an opportunity to ride a camel down a desert road surrounded by mountains. Needless to say, it was quite the experience for everyone and we have some great photos! Since we were at the far southern point of Israel and within a few miles of the Sinai Peninsula, we had a long drive ahead of us through the Negev Dessert. Along the way, we drove through Makhtesh Ramon and witnessed some of its wonders and our tour guide taught us how this geological marvel formed over millions of years.
Our last meal together was at a ranch camp of Israeli Bedouin Arabs who continued to bring out platters of food as we reclined on pillows underneath a tent. I asked each team member to share what they were bringing home with them from their journey to the Holy Land. In addition to many wonderful souvenirs and keepsakes, each person's stories were deeply moving and inspirational.
Through our many site visits, encounters, conversations, shared meals, and travels, our eyes were opened and our hearts enlarged. We all learned how complex this area is, but also that there are many great people who are working for peace. With an increase of love, compassion, and understanding, wounds can be healed and reconciliation possible. Once strangers, we are leaving united as one family of faith with a strong determination to continue to worship together, listen and learn together, mourn and celebrate together and work together for the shalom of our community and all people.
I hope you will join us in person or online this Sunday, April 30th at 9:30 am as our Holy Land team members will help lead worship and share their stories during our morning service.
Thank you so much for joining us in this journey every step of the way. I look forward to using our experience and photos to help bring the Bible more to life as we look at the Scriptures to help guide our church community to become loving followers of Christ.