from the bus as we begin our trip
to the Dead Sea area.
She pointed out Gilliad on the right side, telling us the story of Elijah. She spoke about John the Baptist and his ministry of baptism in the Jordan. How when the Galileans went to and from the feasts in Jerusalem they would meet up with him, hear his message and be baptized.
She explained how you must be baptized in "living water". That is water that flowed. So baptizems were dependent on the seasons and the rains, and so the rivers came and went. How in the new kingdom, the river flowing from the Lord would be abundant and constant.
How over the years it has become clear that the prophecies are true about how when the Jewish people own the land it flourishes for them, but will not flourish when others own it.
There was Mount Gilboa where Saul and his sons died in battle.
Then, where Joshua and the Israelite's crossed the Jordan into Canaan. Jericho, Mount Nebo where Moses was shown the whole of the land and was buried by the Lord. The Mountain of Temptation where Jesus was tempted Satan.
When we came to the Dead Sea she pointed out the Kidron Valley which begins at the East Gate of the temple, and from which the river of God will flow. It will flow into the Kidron valley, along it all the way to the Dead Sea. There it will bring "life" to this sea so that even fishermen will be fishing on the new "living" Dead Sea.
Swimming in the Dead Sea was trully an experience. First of all, there are rules. If you ever run into a lake like the Dead Sea, you know, 30% mineral content, here are some things you have to keep in mind:
- Do not swallow the water.
- Do not get water in your eyes. (No splashing others!)
- After the swim you MUST shower ALL of the salt of ALL parts of your body!
- Take all your silver jewelry off, as it will tarnish right away.
There are some good things:
- You will get 10 years younger swimming here, that's why they let you go in only once! (Joke)
- Rub some of the mud on you...good for the skin. People pay big prices to get that done at spas and so on!
There are, according to our tour guide, two major products they get from the Dead Sea. One is potash and the other a tranquilizer ingredient. She mentioned that the side effect of living close to this body of water was being very relaxed and happy, all due to the affects of the tranquilizer in the atmosphere. We were not sure if she was serious or joking! She claimed that she was serious!
What is it like swimming in this lake? It is a very unusual feeling to lay down in a body of water and it holds you so high that you feel like you are about to tip over constantly. Within a few minutes you get it and it becomes a very pleasurable experience. There is no effort needed to keep you afloat, so you simply sit in the water and use your arms to keep yourself upright and also for moving around from place to place.
The Jewish rebels did not believe in suicide, as that would result in going to hell. The photo above are the lots the archaeologists found, which the Jewish leaders used to decide who would be the last man standing and would have to kill himself, jeopardizing his own soul.
They made a pact that they would all rather die than fall into Roman hands. Each solder would kill his own family, wives and children. Then these ten named on the potsherds would kill all the solders. Then one drew a potsherd to kill these 9 and finally himself, jeopardizing his own soul.
It was a very emotional moment for our tour guide as she explained this very human and tragic aspect of the battle.
Below is what the ramp the Romans built looks like today. We went up by cable car and came down walking, beginning with a series of stairs and finally walkng down on the ramp itself.
The Romans were astonished when they broke through that they found only dead bodies. Rome understood power and strength, but did not understand the spirit which could not be destroyed or controlled.
This event raises a lot of questions, some of which are: Did the rebels use the right tactics in letting themselves get cornered like this? Would there have been better more effective ways to rebel against the power of Rome? Were they heroes and martyrs or did they commit suicide out of pride and selfishness?