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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Defiant Rebel, Defiant Prophets, Defying Death!

It was a beautiful morning in Jericho.  Let's see what I had for breakfast: some scrambled eggs, some blue cheese, some goats cheese, some pancakes, a few olives, grapefruit juice and coffee.  We headed off first thing to the Fortress of Masada.  Built by Herod the Great (man who killed babies in Bethlehem) and intended to be his quick get away if the peasants revolted or if Cleopatra decided to have Marc Anthony kill him!   It is an engineering wonder!  The lore of the place of course is even better.  Surrounded by a Roman legion in the 60's AD, the rebels choice suicide over slavery and Masada stands as a kind of national symbol of freedom for Israel.

Onwared to Qumran!  This is where John the Baptist probably stayed for a while as a member of the Essenes and was the place where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were found.   Very interesting insight into this Jewish sect of the 1st century.

Then it was up to Jerusalem, but first a stop at the place of Martha, Mary and Lazarus--the city of Bethany which is just on the opposite side of the Mount of Olives.  A beautiful church built over the house of Lazarus and with his tomb nearby. 

Then it was off to the Israeli Museum to see the model of old Jerusalem and the "Shrine of the Book" which is where the Dead Sea Scrolls are kept.  On the way we drove through the several neighborhoods of Jerusalem, East, West, etc... we saw the Hassidic Jews who control a whole section of town, even to the point that you are unable to drive in the neighborhood on the Sabbath and of course we saw the ugly and hideous WALL that has been built between the west bank town of Bethany and Jerusalem.  Imagine Tijuana wall and you get the picture.

We are staying in the Arab East Jerusalem and I'm looking forward to a nice walk to the old city tonight after dinner.   Weather?  Very nice and comfortable in Jerusalem, about 84 degrees.  Very nice cool breeze blowing as I walked out on the terrace of my hotel room.   Masada was the hottest, probably pushing 95 or so, but we were there in the morning so it really wasn't bad....didn't keep anyone from touring etc...    The good news...NO CROWDS!  It has been a great time to tour thus far as we have not had to deal with big crowds at all.  Here are the pix!   Sorry in advance, they are a bit out of sequence.... Enjoy

Standing on top of Masada looking out over
the Dead Sea and Judean Wilderness

Marlene!! Stop taking my picture!! Ha!
Standing in the ruins of Masada where the rebels fled
from the Romans

Linda with the ruins of the bath house
behind her...Herod had EVERYTHING you could
imagine in this fortress

It was probably close to a 100 degrees up top

Marlene and Linda at the Palace which overlooks
the Dead Sea
Where John the Baptizer would have
eaten when he was at Qumran!  Site of
the Dead Sea Scrolls
Cave 4 of Qumran where the best scrolls
were found by a shepherd boy

Notice the Palestinian flags over the sign
directing you to Lazarus Tomb

For those who miss the bus...a camel every
hour on the hour

The controversial wall that has been built
between Bethany and Jerusalem

The three newest members of the
community at Qumran...pass the locusts
and wild honey please....
Linda and Marlene leaving me behind in search
of water....or at least was lunch time
The church of Lazarus, Martha and Mary
in Bethany
According to my Oxford guide these are 4th century
Mosiacs from one of the first churches in
Bethany.  such beauty in a FLOOR!
I am the Resurrection and the Life....Amen
Inside the church at Bethany where
Lazarus was raised.
A great gate leading to the church
in Bethany from the street
The church was built to look like
a tomb in remembrance of
the Raising of Lazarus---Bethany

Two ways up: Walk or Gondola...which would
you take?  Yeah right!!!


If you miss the bus...a camel comes every hour
on the hour!!

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