It’s the simple things in life…freshly squeezed orange juice. I know the orange juice isn’t from Florida. However, the juice in Israel is fresh and delicious. Angie loved pouring orange juice for our group every morning. Israel exports orange juice to many countries around the world.
The temperature today at one point was 106.7 degrees Fahrenheit. The desert (wilderness) area of Israel often experiences extreme heat. We’re drinking lots of water and applying sunscreen throughout the day.
Our first stop of the morning was at Bet She’an. Saul, David, and Solomon had roots in this city. We read 1 Samuel 31, reminding us of the significance of Bet She’an with the deaths of King Saul and his sons. This area has a beautiful theater (known as the second oldest in Israel). The acoustics were impressive in that ancient structure. I stood on the platform and quoted John 3:16. I’d love to have a worship service there. Outside of Bet She’an is Mount Gilboa.
We arrived at the Jordan River for our worship and baptism service later in the morning. We sang, Shall We Gather at the River, On Jordan’s Stormy Banks, The Old Rugged Cross, and I Have Decided to Follow Jesus. I shared a message from Matthew 3:13-17. We focused on Jesus’ baptism and our devotion to follow Him. Following the service, I baptized four people. Today’s baptisms weren’t so much about obedience. It was about identification. Folks wanted to identify with Jesus in the place of His baptism. A few additional folks joined our worship service, too. While standing in the Jordan River, I asked each person to share a brief testimony about Jesus. Each person, with tears, expressed a love and surrender to the Lord. My heart was moved and touched.
We arrived at Qumran (Dead Sea Scrolls) early in the afternoon. And yes, guess what was for lunch? We had chicken, veal meatballs, and rice. A cave in the area was where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1947. Historians believe that this is one of the greatest discoveries of the twentieth century. Original copies of the Scrolls are located in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. We’ll visit the museum early next week.
We arrived at our hotel on the shore of the Dead Sea early in the afternoon. Folks were ready to float and experience the transformation of their skin. Floating on the Dead Sea is hard to explain in words. Many of us plan to take another float early in the morning.
Our group gets an extra two hours of rest tomorrow. We plan to visit many biblical sites on our way up to Jerusalem. A treat is planned for the group as we get close to the Holy City. I’ll give you more details in tomorrow’s update.
We’re praying for Sunday School and worship tomorrow at Bradfordville. May the Lord move in Florida, and in the Holy Land!
Rejoicing in God’s Mercy,
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