Our first stop today was the Road to Jericho.
30 And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and a him, and departed, leaving him half dead.
Road to Jericho – Good Samaritan Road (trail)
31 And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.
32 And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side.
Matt pointed out that this valley has been filled in to bury a gas line. 2,000 years ago it would have been much deeper, and the trail very narrow along the side of the mountain. To “pass by on the other side” would have meant backtracking and then crossing to the other side of the valley. In other words, the priest and Levite would have gone out of their way to avoid the man.
Seeing this adds more depth to the scriptures and their meanings. This is hostile country: hot, dry, rocky and steep.
33 But a certain a, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had b on him,
34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took a of him.
Matt and Doug Hiking Up a Hill to What May Have Been a Shelter
35 And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the a, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
37 And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise. (from Luke Chapter 10)
Looking Towards Jericho
While we were out there, this surveillance plain flew over 3 times checking us out. Yes, we were in hostile territory between Jerusalem and Jordan. We smiled and waved to show them we were just stupid tourist wandering around in the desert.
Military Surveillance Plane
Elizabeth, Me, Diane, Doug, Kelly, Matt and Sushi’s Owner
We stopped at the Sea Level marker along the highway. Remember, the Dead Sea is about 1,400 below sea level. This guy accepted some cash from Matt because Matt wanted to ride his camel. His son, Ahkmed, took some pictures with my camera. I attempted to show him how, but he said, “I know, I know.” (By the way, the dad was wearing the same style shoes I wore. I guess I wear camel-jockey shoes.)
While there I bought a 1/2 Kilo of dates. They were the freshest dates I’ve ever had. $6 for a 1/2 Kilo. Won’t find that price in the states.
The guy who sold me the dates said, “Like me on Facebook”. (When I find his business card, I will.)
From there we drove along the Dead Sea to Masada. Now, until today I had never heard of Masada. Masada was a city built on a very tall plateaued mountain (1300 feet) by Harod the Great. Yes, the same one who ordered the death of all children under the age of two. This fortress was to be a safe haven from his enemies.
To get to the top, we took a tram. Once on the top, one must be prepared for some hiking and stairs.
Our Group on Top of Masada
Discovered in 1842, it was excavated by Yigael Yadin’s expedition in 1963. (Yadin is one of my heroes. What an amazing man.)
They stored grain, fruits, water, ammunition and weapons atop this mountain. Unfortunately, the Romans built an earthen ramp to the top and defeated them.
Model of Masada Showing the Roman Ramp
So, how do you sit there watching your enemies build a ramp to your fortress? My wife suggests the Romans simply had them outnumbered.
When we got off the tram back at the visitor’s center, Matt suggested we eat at their cafeteria. I had lamb kebobs on cinnamon sticks. Quite tasty. The food in Israel is somewhat bland. I expected more spices. But the produce is so very fresh.
Dinner at Masada
When we returned to Jerusalem, it was time for a snack. So, down Jaffa Street we went looking for some tasty treats.
Cookies and Pastries
I got a kick out of this 7-11-like store. Notice they are only open 7 days a week?
Yes, they honor the Sabbath day. Or, Sabbott (SHAH-bot) as they call it in Jerusalem.
24 Hours a Day x 6 Days a Week