Masada was more than a stronghold, it was the site of a last stand against the Romans, and an almost total suicide to prevent the Romans from declaring a murderous victory and taking any survivors as slaves. It was originally built as a magnificent palace for Herod the Great, and was possibly the stronghold for David referred to in the Bible. It was like a box on top of the mountain, and had some marvelous design features like water capture, hot and cool bathing, beautiful tiled designs, storage rooms, the mosaics and the Byzantine Church built at the top.
About half our group took the tram to the top of Masada, and the other half climbed the legendary Snake Trail. Those of us who took the tram had time to view a small museum at the bottom, including a brief video overview.
Hear the detailed story of the Jewish zealots as narrated by the ancient historian Josephus about one of the most decisive battles ever for the Jewish people and Israel. At this great fortress we will visit the bath house, the
We all descending to the bus by walking along the siege ramp built by the Romans that still remains, then rode the bus to a Bedouin camp. There we enjoyed a special visit with Middle Eastern hospitality and experienced a camel ride, and had my favorite meal on the trip. Stuffed grape leaves, lamb meatballs, artichokes and peppers on couscous plus salads and desserts.
Next a bus ride via the Negev Desert to the Elah Valley, site of the famous battle between David and Goliath, where a couple of the guys reenacted part of the story while Cliff read and expounded on a gripping devotional of what took place here and why. My heart was struck with David’s bold confidence in God.
We continued the ride – our ascent to Jerusalem, 2,400 feet above sea level, via Beit Shemes and Emmaus. We got our first glimpse of the city from the Haas Promenade, the area where most armies surveyed the city before preparing to invade it. Another huge buffet dinner (which explains why I only lost 1#) and overnight in Jerusalem.