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Tour Journal For Israel Study Tour with Pastor's Fam January 8-18, 2014

Truly Alive

Truly Alive

Nicholas T. Love, Jr High Coordinator
and Alexandra Love
First Prez, Honolulu, HI

Day two began early for us as when we embraced our jet lag by getting up at 5 am and walking down to the Dead Sea to put our hands in the famously salty water while watching the sun rise through an overcast sky. We were also hoping to find some coffee, but as it was Shabbat, none of the shops nearby were open, as we were out of luck.

As we reflected on our morning’s devotional, a few things stood out. Rich, our guide, explained that the Dead Sea has water flowing into it, but no water flowing out. What we took from the message was that in order to be alive, we cannot just be fed, but we also feed to feed, or flow out to others. We do this by loving God and loving others by sharing with them the gospel. The giving and receiving of God’s love is what makes us truly alive.

Dead Sea
Known in the Bible as the “Salt Sea” or the “Sea of the Arabah,” this inland body of water is appropriately named because its high mineral content allows nothing to live in its waters. Other post-biblical names for the Dead Sea include the “Sea of Sodom,” the “Sea of Lot,” the “Sea of Asphalt” and the “Stinking Sea.” In the Crusader period, it was sometimes called the “Devil’s Sea.” All of these names reflect something of the nature of this lake.
Learn more about the Dead Sea at

The theme of “living” continued as we journeyed an hour and a half south through the desert to Ein Avdat, or what Rich called the “mini Grand Canyon.” We learned about the Israelites’ search for water while they wandered the desert for all those years and examined passages from the Bible about trees with roots that go down to water. We were reminded that when our roots go deep in the living water that Christ offers us, like the trees, we do not need to worry in times of drought.

Ein Avdat
Ein Avdat emerges at the base of the 50 foot (15 m) waterfall. This spring water is a bit salty, but the plants around the pool can survive on salt water. The springs in this canyon are a geological puzzle. To this day scholars don’t know where they come from. This is a dry region and during rainfall the runoff doesn’t penetrate the ground, but drains off in the wadis. The current theory is that the springs come from flash flood water that seeps down through the stream bed gravel and thus into the ground below.
Learn more about Ein Avdat at

We wandered in the desert for some time, getting a little taste of what it was like for the Israelites to walk for miles and miles a day seeing nothing but dirt, rocks, and dried bushes. Like the Israelites, we questioned where we were going, but before we were able to collect our gold and make an idol to worship, we came upon what you could call a camel ranch. Our entire group got to go on a camel ride which was a great time and a lot of fun for us all. But maybe not for the camels. Their groaning seemed to indicate that they were not as excited as we were.

Next, we went to Arad where we learned about the excavated ruins of an ancient city and the citadel within the city. It was so amazing to see the work being done there and to learn about the theories of what the citadel may have had within its walls, why the ancient people included those things, and why the citadel was there in the first place.

Inside the Iron Age fortress, archaeologists found remains of a temple used for several centuries during the time of the Divided Monarchy. Though worship centers outside of Jerusalem were forbidden by Moses (Deut 12), high places flourished throughout the land according to the Bible. The sacrificial altar is visible in the outer courtyard.
Learn more about Arad at

Finally, we returned to our hotel, changed into our bathing suits, went across the street to the Dead Sea, and got in it. Now, we live in Hawaii and have had our fare share of salt water experiences, but nothing compared to floating like we did in the thick, slimy water of the Dead Sea. The water was not warm like we are accustomed to in Hawaii, but it was such a fun experience, we stayed in it longer than we anticipated. Floating was simple, but swimming was no easy feat. We were so buoyant that we could hardly get our feet sufficiently submerged to kick!

So far this trip has helped us to understand the Bible’s teachings in a new and refreshing way. We have seen so much, it’s hard to believe it’s only been two days, but we can’t wait to see what comes next!

Today's Photos

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