This morning we left the Dead Sea and headed for Jerusalem. I genuinely love the Dead Sea area and its exotic-ness but I dislike the one night at the hotel and then pack up and leave. But such is life.

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Our first stop today was another of my favorites, Masada. I have realized that if you love God AND you love the Jewish roots of your faith, that you are apt to fall in love with His chosen people as well. So it is that we love the Jews and all things that cause us to be reminded of their heroism and destiny. The story of Masada is a beautiful (tragic) story of a group of people’s determination to die in freedom rather than live in slavery. Their story is beautifully told through the geography of Masada.

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It was also cool that while we were visiting the ancient synagogue, some of our team had the privilege of witnessing a sofer as he was copying the Scriptures.

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We also saw some very cool school kids who were visiting Masada as a field trip.

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From there we headed to Ein Gedi, the oasis where Saul was chasing David and where David cut off a portion of Saul’s cloak. We had visited this place before as an archaeological dig but neither of us had witnessed the beauty of this desert oasis- including the wildlife, the acacia trees, and the spring … and yes, Cheri had to dip her toes in the spring of Ein Gedi.

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Finally, we headed to Jerusalem and I could not have been more  excited about our crowds response upon entering the city. They were ecstatic.

In Jerusalem, we visited the Temple Institute where I (disappointingly) did not get to take any pictures BUT we did get to learn a great amount about the temples past as well as the temple future. It is amazing when you begin to realize how much preparation has already gone into the Third Temple. Everything except the building of the Temple and the finding of the Ark of the Covenant is in place.

We then went to the Western Wall where we all got to pray and sense God’s Spirit. All of our people were in total thrill mode at getting to pray at the kotel, Judaism’s holiest place of prayer (because of its proximity to the site of the ancient Holy of Holies.) I know that many of them even tucked prayer notes in the wall for others to pray over.

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We were also surrounded by soldiers as this day marked their vow/oath of allegiance to the nation of Israel … all in front of the Wailing Wall.

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From here we headed to the Garden of Gethsemane where we meditated and prayed for the Jews. We also got to witness Ellis’ and Donna’s passion and history with/for this place. We were really proud of them.

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