31 March, 2013

Negev Day 1

Welcome to Day 1 of our four day trip to the Negev region of Israel! Negev means south and dry.. keyword: dry. It is a huge barren desert with very little rain and fresh water resources. In order to live in this part of the country, you have to totally and completely depend on God due to this climatic instability (if there's no rain.. yooouu'rree toast!) Oddly enough, this lil section of land was highly coveted by surrounding peoples because it connects the coast to Transjordan (other side of the Jordan River) with its routes.. so it's not just a good for nothin chunk of dirt and sand :) 

We kicked off our Negev trip at Tel Sheva, the site of the ancient city of Beersheva. This place is mentioned in Scripture frequently, especially in the time of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were all here at one point or another). Abraham rested after offering up Isaac to the Lord, Hagar and Ishmael were expelled into the wilderness here, and Jacob stopped here to offer sacrifices to God as he was reassured to continue to Egypt due to a famine in Israel.

For safety reasons, we wore hilarious helmets :)

There were remnants of altars at this tel.. this is a replica of a horned altar they excavated here (the original one is now in the Israel museum)

So we sacrificed people on it.. :)

Next we went to Arad. This tel is known in Scripture as the place the Israelites named Hormah, and they built a fortress here. All the efforts put into this city, including Solomon’s fortifications, were destroyed by Pharaoh Shishak then again by King Sennacherib of Assyria.

It was soooo windy hahaha. So me and Princess modeled a lil ;)

After seeing the striking mountainous desert terrain on our Benjamin trip, I was so so so excited to see it again.

We starting hiking through Nahal Zin next. Since I missed the En Gedi hike, these large canyons were so cool for me to behold with my own eyes!! I have never seen anything like it. This nahal (Hebrew for canyon) is significant because it was the southern border of the Promised Land. 

We left Nahal Zin and had a long bus ride and finally arrived at Avdat which holds the ruins of an ancient civilization of the Nabateans (traders). They left behind a great fortress in the wilderness of Zin.. it was so fun to explore!

But first... we found some camel friends.

This day was a wonderful way to start off our trip. It was neat being in the desert area of Israel (which is what I pictured all of Israel looking like before coming here haha).. it is suchhhh different terrain compared to the Hill Country where I live.

Days 2, 3, and 4 to be posted soon :)