The Garden Tomb, Jericho, Qumran Caves, Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, Biblical Tamar Park
Early in the morning, we visit the Garden Tomb and remember Mary Magdalene1John 20:11 bending down to look inside.
Then we drive down the Jericho Road, waving at the Good Samaritan.2Luke 10:30 In Jericho, our bus parks under an ancient Sycamore tree, but Zacchaeus3Luke 19 is gone for the day. We marvel at the tumbled remains4Joshua 6:20 of the walls.
Elijah: “Wait here. God’s telling me to cross Jordan.”
Elisha: “You won’t have to cross Jordan alone! Boss.”
52 Kings 2 Five Free Methodists teach us a line from Charles Wesley:
I then rode on the sky, freely justified I,
Nor did envy Elijah his seat.
My soul mounted higher in a chariot of fire,
And the moon it was under my feet.
Our guide points across the River to the little village of Bethany, where Jesus stood in line to be baptized by John.”6Matthew 3:13-17
Qumran: Dozens of caves dot these bluffs, but Elijah and his helper took no notice. At Wadi Murabba’at, where 1,000 years later scholars would hide jars and jars of sacred scrolls in its caves, they walked right by.
Little Ari never dreamed that in 1946 a boy about his age would be looking for his goats, toss in a pebble, and hear it break one of those jars. Or that he would take seven scrolls home and hang them on a tent pole for his cousins.
At Ein Gedi, the largest oasis along the western shore of the Dead Sea, we stick our toes into a pool where David stopped Abishai’s spear71 Samuel 26:8 from pinning King Saul to the ground, where Chedorlaomer8Genesis 13-14 carried off Lot, but Abraham’s 318 men grabbed him back again, and where Elijah may have bathed.
At the southern border of Ezekiel’s Israel9Ezekiel 48 we move into our rooms at Biblical Tamar Park and then dig into a delicious Kosher American dinner.
Our first night in the Biblical Tamar Park. In the quiet of the Arava night, we dream of little boys tossing pebbles at the hundreds of clay jars stacked on our kitchen counter.