Masada and the Dead Sea - Israel Day 2

Today’s blog post is by Diane Estes, member of Colonial Baptist Church. For more pictures from the trip, visit our Facebook page.

I first want to thank my husband and family for making this trip possible. I had said years ago that if I ever had the chance to travel, I would dearly love to go to the Bible land. I have heard many people say that this trip causes the Bible to “come alive” and enables you to see the Bible in “full color.”

Today my heart was about to burst open with excitement and appreciation to the Lord for what I Blog - Israel Day 2 - Atop Masadawas seeing.  We left this morning at 8 a.m. with water, walking shoes, sunblock, and visors to see Masada, a 1,400ft mountain.  In Hebrew, masada means “stronghold or fortress.” In 1 Samuel 22:3-5 and 1 Chronicles 12:1-16, David had taken his parents to Moab for safety; and he and 400 of his men returned to Judah and temporarily camped in the masada (“stronghold”).  The area we have been around for the past 48 hrs has been surrounded by majestic mountains. Masada was uniquely different. It had the same physical appearance as the others, but the Lord had this particular mountain for a special purpose. Around 37B.C., King Herod built an unbelievable structure on the top of Masada. Herod designed it as a “winter palace” for himself; but 600 years later, the Lord used it as a safe haven for about one thousand Jews. For 3 years after the end of the war, the Romans did not know they were there. Once they were discovered, the Jews put up a tremendous fight and used the palace “fortress” in amazing ways. Although it had a terribly sad ending, it was a beautiful Blog - Israel Day 2 - Herod's Palacepicture of the Lord’s provision for His people for a period of time.

During the second part of the day, we got to swim in the Dead Sea, which is right in front of our hotel. The Dead Sea is about 45 miles long, 11 miles wide, 1350 ft below sea level. It is the body of water between us and Jordan. Although the temperature today is 113 degrees Fahrenheit, it was truly a delightful experience. The moment you walk into the Dead Sea, the salt content causes you to become buoyant. You sit in the water like you have taken a “chaise lounge” in with you. The sea gets its name because the water has a salt content of 33%. So …those of us who are a little shy of fish and other sea creatures don’t have to worry because they can’t survive. However, that condition of the water may not be forever because Ezekiel 47:8-11 tells us that one day the Dead Sea (referred to as the Salt Sea in Hebrew) would become fresh and fisherman would line it’s bank. The Dead Sea was mentioned a couple other places in scripture. Genesis 14:3 tells us the kings of the east defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah in the valley of Siddim (the Salt Sea). Numbers 34:3-12 tells us that God established the Salt Sea as part of Israel’s eastern border. In Samuel 22:3-5, it is possible that David crossed the Dead Sea when he took his family from Judah to Moab to protect them from Saul. David then returned to the “stronghold” – possibly referring to Masada.

I close with a prayer thanking the Lord for preserving the land of Israel for us to see.

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