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Friday, March 9, 2018

Salt and mountains and the lowest point on earth



The Wilderness Tabernacle, a full sized model! Wow! For those whose Old Testament is a bit rusty, it's the place Moses had built in which the ancient Israelite people could worship God.


A full-sized replica of the Tabernacle

We learn how it represents Christ in many ways, and I wish I had written all of them down. Our Tabernacle guide says it had three parts, like the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. But as I am writing, I’m trying to take it all in. 

Inside the Ark


It's hard. I feel alien as I stand in the Holy of Holies, beside the Ark of Covenant, and our team leader says that I'm supposed to feel this way. It proves that nothing I do can bring me to God. Only Christ can.
After leaving, and after a short lunch, we find ourselves traveling beside  factories that extract minerals from the Dead Sea evaporation ponds. On the left are the Sodom Mountains. It’s an odd juxtaposition of modern industry and stark Biblical landscape, for ahead of us is the pillar of salt called Lot's Wife.


The Pillar known as Lot's Wife


A piece of the Sodom Mountains. Salt rock


We pull into a small lay-by. The air smells minerally, like the seashore. Yossi says it’s the bromide, which has a sedative effect. He warns us of the staff at hotels and their apathy as a result of inhaling it. 
We stand in the shadow of a huge salt mount and our guide points out that the lowest point on earth had the lowest morals, and yet, God provides for His people. At the Wilderness Tabernacle, I felt alien, intrusive and unworthy, yet here, I see how God provided for our sin through Jesus Christ. Mankind had tried to fix his own sin, as Adam and Eve had made clothing from fig leaves, but God corrected that, sacrificing an animal to fashion clothes from its skin. Much later, my husband and I discuss how sewing fig leaves together doesn't work. That there needs to be a death of something in order to have rebirth. Plucking fig leaves hardly kills the tree, but the sacrificial lamb died for the sake of sin. 
Even our guide hints at that, when he says his profession as an archeologist is a destructive one, destroying layers of mankind's lives in order to get to the truth.

Incredible depth. We leave this sombre landscape and travel to the Daniel Hotel on the edge of the Dead Sea, one of many hotels in this urban oasis. 

At the shore of the Dead Sea, the hotels behind me


Inside this imposing hotel is a tall atrium with two banks of elevators as its spine. It’s almost the Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, and the sun is already dipping below the range of mountains behind the hotel. 
Why does the Jewish Sabbath start at sundown? In the desert, it’s cooler at night, and much can be done then, so the day always starts at sundown. It's the same reason the crescent moon represents the Muslim faith. Nomadic people travel at night here in the desert, as it’s too hot to move during the day in the heat of summer. 
Our meal this evening is alfresco and sumptuous and the Orthodox Jews that spend the Sabbath here are in full party mode. It's a festive atmosphere. Why can't start our Sabbath with a party, I wonder?

 
Desserts in the Desert
It doesn't matter, though. Tomorrow will bring its own delight. 

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