03 April, 2013

Negev Day 2

We stayed the night at Mitzpeh Ramon in a youth hostel. It was my first experience in a hostel! I stayed with five other girls and we had a great time :) The hostel was right next to Machtesh Ramon. Machtesh means "crater". It was quite a sight to behold.. I've never seen anything like it. Many times photos don't do something justice, and this is the epitome of that. This giant 3000 ft high crater was formed by a large body of water literally scooping out its insides (come on world, that's evidence of the flood). Close to the edge, you can see it's a looooonngg way down.

I actually took these shots the day before we went in for dinner.

Also another thing I failed to do: include these videos in the Negev Day 1 post

This was at Tel Arad.. I'm being a lil too dramatic in this vid hahah. First day of our trip was pretty cold and windy and... green. haha (again one of the benefits of doing IBEX in the spring!) The rest of the Negev was definitely a hot desert with unique oasis-like areas :)

So.. thus begins day 2!!! We got on the bus and drove down into the crater on our way to our next stop.. it was a long drive through the desert. I couldn’t stop looking out my window and being fascinated with the view. The variance in the geography of this relatively small country amazes me. I'll stop here but it is a crime that a dumb camera couldn't capture the grandeur of what my eyes were witnessing this entire trip.

Finally we stopped literally in the middle of nowhere.. known as the Wilderness of Paran. When Moses was leading the Israelites, they stopped at a place known as Kadesh-Barnea where twelve spies were sent to scope out the Promised Land which was inhabited by Canaanites. God has been promising this area to the Israelites since the time of Abraham. When ten of the twelve spies had bad accounts of the land (a.k.a. "waaaaa I'm really scared of the big people!") even though the Lord told them He would deliver the enemies into their hands, they doubted God and decided they were not strong enough to take on the Canaanites. God disciplined them because of their unfaithfulness and sent them to wander in the desert for 40 years.
This is the very place they wandered. The Wilderness of Paran.

On the left is a broom tree. Elijah hid under one of these as recorded in 1 Kings 19.

This was definitely the most impactful stop of my entire Negev experience. Bill led us through the barren desert canyons and let us roam free to pick our own spot to meditate on Deuteronomy 8. I walked for awhile, sat down, and read the passage. I could write all my thoughts about every verse in that chapter but I'll spare you, because trust me I'd write an essay here. I really encourage you to meditate on this as well and see what valuable truths can be pulled out of it.

Deuteronomy 8:2-10,17-18
"And you shall remember the whole way that the Lord your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not. And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years. Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you. So you shall keep the commandments of the Lord your God by walking in his ways and by fearing him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing out in the valleys and hills, a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey, a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing, a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper. And you shall eat and be full, and you shall bless the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Beware lest you say in your heart, My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth. You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day."

Nothin speaks death quite like the climate of the Negev haha. Check out that nice thirsty ground ;)

Now it was time to play!! YAY! We headed to the southern most part of our trip, Eilat. It's an awesome beach city, attached to one of the most important ports of this part of the world. It's kinda funny to see this lil oasis in the middle of the friggin dessert haha.

And.... there it is. Pizza Hut. Sometimes you just gotta eat American food.

So.. we went to the Red Sea (Reed Sea). One of the most beautiful waters I've ever seen. There even was a coral reef here.

Time for snorkeling!! how many can say they had the opportunity to snorkel in the Red Sea? ah. too cool

Quick video I took in the water... I apologize for my goober-ness :)

After getting out of the water, I handed my camera over to Chris.. thanks so much for the great pictures!

Our last hour was spent relaxing and playing games. It was a most wonderful beach day :)

Headed to our hotel for that night, and this was my view from my balcony. Sup Red Seaaaaa!

After dinner, we all walked along the boardwalk. For a moment it didn't feel like I was in a different country, because this place reminded me so much of Venice Beach and Santa Monica Pier combined. All those vendors along the way and the sketchy people made me feel right at home :) haha

Andrew got some hair extensions :)

We explored a few of the suuuuuuper nice hotels along the beach

 It was a joy to hang out with these goobers the whole night :)! they bless my heart on the regs

Ashley and Daniel went into that scary cage thing that gets shot into the air. yaaaa no thanks!! Atleast Ash looks excited ;)

Back at the hotel after an amazing day. Again, view from my balcony. Too good!

See the day before: Negev Day 1