We left Jordan and re-entered Israel down near Eilat, on the Red Sea. The two preachers that we had to leave behind, Tony and Isaac, were able to rejoin us there. We took a minute to dip our toes in the Red Sea. One thing we did on this trip was to gather water samples from as many different places as possible.
From Eilat, we drove up to Masada. When I was a teenager, Bill Humble from Abilene Christian came and presented some slides at our church several different Sundays. One Sunday he talked about Masada; I’ve been waiting since then to finally get to visit this desert fortress. It was fortified by Herod, then used by the Zealots as their last real spot of resistance after the fall of Jerusalem.
The story is a compelling one. Basically, the defenders held out for a long time, while the Romans built a siege ramp up to the fortress. On the night that the wall was breached, the Romans retired to their camps to ready themselves for the final assault the next day. The Jewish defenders decided not to go into slavery; they chose suicide instead. When the Romans took the fortress, they found that the Zealots were dead. (Supposedly some women survived by hiding in a cistern)
Historians question the accuracy of the Masada legend, but that doesn’t take away from the impressiveness of the place. I wish we’d had more time there. We arrived shortly before closing, and our guide chose to wax eloquent with stories about the Dead Sea rather than give us time to explore the fortress. Still, that’s one item off my bucket list.
From Masada we went to the Dead Sea. The mineral content of the Dead Sea is so high that they say that nothing will sink in the Dead Sea. They also warn you not to get the water in your eyes or mouth, so we were quite careful while floating there.
It’s not every day that you can say you’ve been in Jordan and Israel, visited Masada, and gotten your feet wet in both the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.