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Holy Land day 1,2&3

Reporting from a sunny morning in Bethlehem.  Shaky start.  The flight to Newark on Monday was delayed, cancelled and rescheduled.  Somehow an overworked United agent got us all booked and out of Norfolk about 7 PM.  Apparently high winds in the Newark area were an issue.  The landing at Newark was one of those close your eyes, grip your armrest and pray.  The pilot got us down more or less on plane with as the wings rocked back and forth.  The flight to Tel Aviv left on time with us enjoying the luxury of business class.  It was a very rough flight but being able to lie flat made it easy to sleep through.  We got to Tel Aviv late Tuesday afternoon, and boarded our bus for Bethlehem.  Two folks lost luggage.  No us.  The hotel food is a bit …uh… different.  Not everything is recognizable but we’ll survive.  

Weather last night was rainy but we see blue sky and sunshine outside this morning.


Today we headed out of Bethlehem to the area near the Dead Sea where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  The area was home to folks who had left Jerusalem in order to set up their own worship.  They worshipped in area caves above the zone where they lived, cleaned themselves and took community meals.  

Then just up the road is the city of Jericho of Joshua fame.  We were offered unprecedented discounts at the local tourist shop.  We elected to pass on the bargains shameful as it might seem.  I hate that aspect of bus tours.  We are held hostage to those who enjoy the bargains.  We killed time pretending to browse until lunch was served.  The food has been sort of …eh.  I am naturally repelled by food I can’t identify somehow other than by taste.  There seems to be ample salad so I won’t stave.  I am craving some form of fast food hamburger.  

We did see some of the excavated old city of Jericho.  But by in large it was just a few mounds of rubble so it was hard to identify.  But still it was easy to imagine Jesus visiting and making his way towards Jerusalem after the stopover.

The Jordan River baptism site was impressive.  Several of the group elected to be baptized by immersion in spite of the cool temperatures.  There are at least three pastors in the group.  One conducted a musical sort of devotional while the other two dunked the willing.  Not sure about the provenance of this particular site.  It looked good and has only been available for about 2 years. I know there are others.

The final stop was for those who wanted to float in the Dead Sea.  Again too cool for my blood.  

Back in Bethlehem tonight.  Tomorrow we will stay in the area and we are scheduled to have dinner with a Christian family.

aa© Robert Graham 2012