Greetings from Bethlehem,
This is our last night in Bethlehem. Each day here has been significant and today was no different. We are left with impressions on our minds and spirits which will never allow us to be quite the same as we were when we arrived here.
It never rains in Israel-Palestine in May; or so they say. We left the guest house this morning with a drop or two falling and before we went very far; it was raining steadily. Fortunately, it didn’t last very long. As we journeyed south the sun came out and a beautiful day was in store for us. As we made the journey, the crowded towns were left behind and the road sides were covered with wheat fields, orchards of grapes and olives, and other agricultural products. Our destination at Tel Beersheba was Abraham’s Well. We were the first group to arrive which gave us the opportunity to reflect quietly at the site. As we explored the ancient ruins around the location we tried to imagine a bit of what life may have been like for the people who lived there; especially for the women as they gathered around the well to draw water for their family’s use.
Next, we traveled to see Masada and toured the mountaintop site where the Zealots made their last stand against the Romans. The strongest among us made it up the mountain in eight minutes! You can guess who it was. All who attempted the hike made it back successfully. We retraced our route through the Negev Desert and stopped for a camel ride and lunch in a Bedouin tent. The camel ride was fun; but, hard on the anatomy! The camel behind me was quite friendly. I kept finding her head at my elbow. We learned a bit about the Bedouin culture as we were served tea and coffee. Then we enjoyed our meal seated on cushions around a low table.
We made the trip back to Bethlehem and enjoyed our last dinner together for a couple of nights. Our last activity of the day was an inspiring presentation by Salim Munayer about Musalaha (Reconciliation in Arabic) and Camel Treks. He spoke to us about Obstacles to Reconciliation and the challenges faced in the reconciliation process. His work is fascinating and touched our hearts. It is late and time to pack and rest for the day ahead. Please continue to pray for us as we journey through this Holy Land. Come to us, abide with us; our Lord Immanuel.
With Peace, Grace, and Hope,
Darlene Wilkins (for the group)
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