Tour Journal For North Coast Church In Depth Israel Study Tour May 14-26, 2013

Day 2 – Sweet Tea and Wandering in the Desert

Day 2 – Sweet Tea and Wandering in the Desert

Today was about reliance. reliance on God, reliance on community, reliance on each other. In the desert, there is no I. Everyone takes care of each other. Everyone is part of the same tribe. Today we hiked in the Wilderness of Zin in the Negev. Negev refers to southern Israel – arid, barren, desolate, even an underlying hostility. The Wilderness of Zin is one of seven wildernesses in the Bible that Moses and the Israelites crossed in the Exodus from Egypt over 3,300 years ago.

As we hiked back into the Ein Avedat, the cliffs towered above us. There are times that truly are deafening silence. We stood on the narrow path that traversed along the water, closed our eyes and just listened. Can you hear the ancients? Can you hear Moses leading his people? Can you hear the voice of God. This is where He actually spoke. Wow.

As part of the group hiked back out of the Ein Avedat, the others climbed the cliffs with chutzpah going on a great adventure which culminated in a “wandering in the desert.” Today we walked the path and crossed the desert as just a sampling of what the Israelites experienced. As we grumbled and complained in our own minds for lunch, water and bathrooms, we could almost hear the Israelites complain to Moses about the lack of water persuading him to perform the miracle of smiting the rock with a rod and bringing forth water. Finding each other again, we reconvened for a once in a lifetime camel ride along the desert floor.

As we left and traveled back to the Dead Sea region, we literally went off-roading in the bus. Yes, a 60 foot bus on a rough, pitted, dirt road leading to a bedouin community. Just dropping in (yes 52 of us dropping in), we experienced the graciousness of one family. Today we were of the desert, so we were invited into the shade, given hot sweet tea and watched as the women made fresh pita for us on a stack of metal and timber.

“I don’t know you, but you are much welcomed to my tent.” Aside from the satellite dish in the distance and the man of the “house” having a cell phone, it was a nomadic scene from centuries gone by. After they graciously broke bread with us, we returned down, down, down through the Judea mountains to the Dead Sea for the night.

Two things struck me about today. When we were in the Wilderness of Zin, God was whispering, loudly whispering as only He can. When you are in the wilderness, when you are lost, do you rely on Him? Is he your compass, your guide, your North Star? Do you trust that over the next hill will be water and refuge?

Secondly, do you rely on community? Do you let others in? Graciously, without question or expectation. Do you offer strangers sweet tea and break bread with them? Can we do this at home? Or just in Israel?

Tomorrow, may God speak to us as loudly as He did today. Many of us ended our day floating in the Dead Sea. Bobbing along, seeing where the current would take us. And tomorrow we will float along in our off-roading bus to see where God will take us.

Deb Bostwick

Day 2 wrap up video

Chris teaching about Abraham and Bedouin way of life

Chris teaching about the Wilderness of Zin

Wilderness of Zin time lapse

Chester’s thoughts about camels

Today's Photos

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