The Jordan River is the main water source of the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. It is 156 miles long and the natural border between Israel and Jordan. It is also the main water source for the Dead Sea. It was here in this area that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist who was preparing the way for the Lord and the wilderness. Today people come from all over the world to be baptized in the Jordan River.
The DEAD SEA is the lowest point on the earth at 1412 feet below sea level. The Syrian African Rift, the largest depression in the earth's crust, runs through the Dead Sea. The Sea is 9.6 times saltier than any other ocean in the world. Even Herod the Great and Cleopatra coveted the beautifying properties of the Dead Sea 2,000 years ago. Today, people from all over the world come to soak in the waters of the Dead Sea. The medicinal properties of the water has been a miracle for those who suffer from ailments such as psoriasis, eczema and cystic fibrosis.
QUMRAN is in the Judean Desert and is best known for the caves where the first Dead Sea Scrolls were found by a Bedouin shepherd looking for his lost goat in 1947. He found several scrolls containing the oldest scriptures in existence. Caves have been excavated and scrolls have been found as far south as Massada. To date, every book of the Old Testament has been found in the Dead Sea area except for the book of Esther. These scriptures predated any other scripture by about 1,000 years. The Dead Sea scrolls are the most significant archaeological find ever discovered.
EIN GEDI is a spectacular desert oasis located next to the Dead Sea in the Judean Desert. Waterfalls from the David stream feed pools of freshwater in the middle of the desert. Is it any wonder that David took refuge at Ein Gedi from Saul who was pursuing him? Scripture also calls this area the "rocks of the wild goats". It is referring to the Ibex who have wandered the desert in this region throughout the centuries. Ein Gedi literally means "the spring of the kid". It was also here that Jehosophat defeated his enemies with praise. Song of Solomon 1:14 says "My beloved to me is like a cluster of henna at the spring of Ein Gedi." Today people flock to Ein Gedi to see the beautiful terrain, hike the scenic trails and dip in the cool waters.
MASSADA is an impressive, remote and almost impenetrable mountaintop fortress located in the Judean Desert. From the top of the steep mountain cliffs, there is a breathtaking view over the Dead Sea and the surrounding areas. It was here that King Herod built a magnificent fortress of refuge for times of trouble. Years later, Jewish zealots also took refuge in Massada after the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Here we learn of the courageous fight against the Romans and the last Jewish stand in the land in 73 AD. The ruins of this remote desert fortress are very Impressive, including Herod's northern palace skillfully cut into the cliff of Massada.