The morning sun was high and so were our spirits as our vans climbed the slopes of Mount Tabor. Of course, we had to shop while we waited for the vans to arrive. The woman running the scarf stall was so grateful for our business, she presented me with an apple from her garden. So dear.
Standing beneath a wooden lattice in our sun-dappled outdoor classroom, I shared the stories of Deborah from Judges 4:4-10 and Jael from Judges from 4:16-22. Love those strong women! And thanks, Mary Beth, for the photo.
Between teaching, walking, laughing, and talking, I didn’t have quite as much time to take photos as I’d hoped, but I slipped off to snag a shot whenever I could. Here’s a nearby courtyard featuring a brilliant splash of color.
Coming back down the mountain on a steep road full of switchbacks, we enjoyed another glorious view of the countryside. We found three basic hues in Israel. Tons of brown and tan, a vibrant blue sky, and occasional lush patches of green, thanks to irrigation or natural springs. Ah, but then there are the vineyards and the sprays of bougainvillea in deep pink or bright orange. Israel has a beauty all its own.
Back in our comfy motor coach, we headed south to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the late 1940s–nearly 900 of them in all, written on parchment or papyrus. We tramped around in the desert heat, checking out cisterns, ritual baths, and pottery kilns, with our water bottles in hand.
We continued south along the western edge of the Dead Sea until we came upon Lot’s Wife. Yes, she’s still there, wrapped in salt! How strange, to share her story from Genesis 19:15-38 while standing in the very area where it happened. They say you’ll never read your Bible the same way after touring the Holy Land, and I’m here to tell you, that’s a fact.
The sun was setting behind her salty self, turning the mountains of Moab across the Dead Sea a dusky purple, as we headed for our hotel. Turned out to be an over-the-top resort, with a dinner buffet that encompassed several different stations and untold points on Weight Waters. I fell into bed at nine o’clock, exhausted but happy, refusing to think about what I’d be forced to wear the next morning…