Posts Tagged ‘Travel in Israel’

When you travel in Israel, you can’t help but notice that water is not plentiful. It is, after all, mostly desert. As a result, few rivers or lakes or other bodies of fresh water are available. How did those living in antiquity survive without water being readily available? The answer in many parts of the country was–cisterns. A cistern is not the same as a well. A cistern is a device for rain water collection, and it is typically carved out of rock. This is possible because in many parts of Israel, the rock is limestone which is relatively soft and easily carved. The problem; however, with limestone is that it is very porous, and so to keep the water in the cisterns, the walls were plastered over. The following are some of the cisterns I have visited in Israel. 

Looking up out of the cistern in Beersheva
The evidence of plastering of walls of cistern in Beersheva
Cistern at Beit Shemesh
Entrance into the cistern at Beit Shemesh (notice how water has carved the stone)
Cistern Qumran (by the Dead Sea)
One of several cisterns at Herodian
Different cistern at Herodian

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On a hill overlooking the Dead Sea, Herod the Great built a palace. It is not really a site of any religious significance for Christians, but it is an important site to Jews, especially Israeli Jews. The story of Masada as the final stand for a band of zealots became a focal point for later generations.

For the student of history and culture, the ruins of Masada are a wellspring of information about Herod the Great, both his engineering genius and his paranoia. He built several palaces across the Holy Land, but Masada offers some very special things such as the extensive system for catching and keeping water, as well as the 3 tiered palace structure. Masada is also a site of interest to those fascinated by battle strategies and/or the Roman war machine.

The stories of Masada make for great drama. It is definitely worth visiting the site if you are in the south of Israel. Luckily, it is no longer necessary to hike to get to the top. A tram will take you in a matter of minutes from the bottom to the summit.

The following is a slide show from Masada:

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The following images will probably not be your typical idea of the Holy Land, but Eilat is in Israel, and it does offer special treasures to the traveler.

In Eilat, one can relax and enjoy the warm sun, the clear sky and the blue water. Eilat is a very short drive or boat ride to either Jordan or Egypt, and it is but a few hours drive to the Dead Sea, the Negev or even back to Jerusalem.

Eilat is a resort town at the most southern tip of Israel complete with snorkeling and other water sports, but for the student of the Bible, Eilat is the jumping off point for a journey to the rock city of Petra in Jordan. The importance of Petra to Bible prophecy will be outlined in an upcoming post.

Usuites, Eilat
Usuites, Eilat
Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Sunrise over Gulf of Aqaba
Border Crossing to Jordan from Eilat Israel

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