Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The lowest place on the face of the earth!

Today we went to the lowest place on the face of the earth, about 1300 feet below sea level. You get 10% more oxygen, bromide in the air, and you don't get sunburned as easily since there is more atmosphere. It is quite relaxing. The Kingdom of Jordan is about 6 miles across the sea. But more than that, there are four exciting things to do down there. First, the Dead Sea is 10%+ saltier than the ocean and feels like you are bathing in salad oil dressing! (I'll spare you the pictures of me in a bathing suit!) It is something like you have never experienced just to float so easily in a sea.
Second. the community of Qumran and the location for the Dead Sea Scrolls are on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea.
Third, En Gedi (the Springs of the Wild Goats) is located mid way south on the shore of the Dead Sea. This is where David often fled from Saul and found water and security in this area (notice some of the many caves in this area as I give a devotion from 1 Samuel 24).
Fourth, Masada, the stronghold, where Harod the Great build a tremendous palace in the desert, and the place where in AD 73 the last of the Jewish zealots chose to die rather than to surrender to the Roman 10th Legion. This may be the place that David regarded as "the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61).
We got back just in time to have another all-you-can-eat buffet with just fabulous food on it. After dinner I walked out into the hotel atrium and there was a Yemenite Jewish wedding being conducted. The most interesting part of the wedding was when the groom can to the back, looked at the bride to make sure she was who he thought she was (no Leah replacement for Rachel!), then he pulled her thin veil over her face, went back to the front and waited for her to come up the aisle! The marriage contract was read aloud during the ceremony (in Hebrew of course) which a wedding guest later explained to me. He said this man would have to think very carefully about divorcing this wife because the contract called for him to pay a big monetary payment if he ever did so! Now back to our room (a great two room suite over looking the old city of Jerusalem) and a good night's sleep. We heard of an answer to prayer this morning for something Sharon and I have been praying for for some time. Praise the Lord! I'll share it in a future post.

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