You know how when are learning a lot and you hit the point where you just can’t absorb any more? I’m there for today. Good thing we are about done.
Today we visited the museum of the Dead Sea Scrolls and saw a 1:50 scale replica of old Jerusalem – wow that was cool!
Then we went to Yad Vashem, the holocaust museum. That is one of the most sobering experiences you will ever have. After coming out of that, you feel a strong responsibility to witness to others the importance of remembering what happens when we allow hatred of others to determine our actions, rather than living the higher moral law of loving others.
We drove through the wilderness down to the Dead Sea, near Jericho. “A man went down to Jericho, and on the way, he was set upon by thieves, and beaten and left for dead by the side of the road.” Okay, it’s not an exact quote, but it’s been a long day. This is hostile wilderness. Desert and thorns and rocks for miles and miles. I don’t know how the Bedouins survive out there.
We got to the Dead Sea and when we got off the bus, we were body-slammed by the heaviest humid heat I’ve ever experienced. I felt a little like I was being slowly poached. We changed into swimming suits and waded into the water. It felt like warm bath water and made your skin feel slippery. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was sapponifying all the oils in my skin. As soon as I was in the water I could taste salt on my lips. If you ever wonder how porous your skin is, try swimming in the Dead Sea. We floated close to the shore for a little while and then slathered ourselves in the clay mud for a photo opportunity. (Word to the wise, because someone else advised me. Do not pass gas while in the Dead Sea. You will pay for it in pain and suffering.)
After rinsing in the beachside shower, a friend and I went up to a regular swimming pool (this place is a whole resort) and swam in some lovely chlorinated water for a few minutes. As soon as we got in that water, I licked my lips and there was no more salt taste. I was a little hesitant to get into that pool, because there weren’t really any other women there. It’s so hard to know how to act as a woman here in some of the predominantly Muslim areas. If I hadn’t been with a friend or my husband, I probably wouldn’t have felt comfortable enough to go in there.
After the Dead Sea, we drove to Jericho and took a tram ride up to the Mount of Temptations, where after Jesus fasted for 40 days, he was tempted to turn stones into bread.
From the tram and the view from the top, we could see the ruins of Tel Jericho – the Old Testament city conquered by Joshua and his army. It was a great view and we could also see Mount Nebo in the hazy distance. Also not far from here is the New Testament location of Jericho, where Herod built his winter palace. (Because who in their right mind would come here in the heat of summer?!)
Here in our hotel room tonight I can hear the wind bluster hard outside. I may need to sleep with earplugs tonight.