The first day of our trip we actually did not even cross the border into Egypt. We traveled towards Egypt in a very indirect path so that we could visit some sites on the way. Our first stop was Tel Beersheba which was actually pretty cool because you here at Beersheba all the time in the Old Testament. It was the place where Abraham was commanded to sacrifice Isaac and where Rebecca and Isaac first meet. For being such a significant city back then it was surprisingly small and we had to wear hard hats......not really sure why since the only thing above us was wide open sky!
Next we stopped at an oasis called Kadesh Barnea in the middle of the Wilderness of Zin, where the Israelites wandered for forty years. It was actually really pretty, the water seriously comes out of nowhere since everything surrounding it is completely barren. We went on a fun little hike up the face of the mountain to get a view of the whole thing and read scriptures about when Moses struck the rock and brought forth water.
After a few more hours on the bus we arrived at Avdat. Avdat was built in about 300 BC and was a huge trade center in its prime. It was probably the largest group of ruins we have visited so far and we had a great time exploring!
Our final stop was at the sand dunes. They were really cool, but they required quite the hike in the heat of the sun to get to them. After making our trek our group talked about how wandering in the desert (aka wilderness back then) for forty years would be the worst thing ever and how we now can maybe understood why some murmuring took place haha. The sand dunes turned out to be a highlight of the day though! For the first part we all had fun rolling down the hill and playing in the sand. After awhile though we talked about spiritual events that had occurred in deserts and all went out on 'desert solos' and spent some time out by ourselves in the desert to think and pray. It was an incredible experience and was completely different from the 'mountain solos' I had gone on in the past. It is amazing how you can feel the spirit so strongly out in nature-no matter the landscape.
how Stacey would feel about wandering in the desert for forty years
We stayed the night at the Kibbutz, which was completely fascinating. There are several of these kibbutz in Israel, which are basically these Jewish communities living the law of consecration..... but in a much more communist way. They share possessions, work together, eat together, go to school there, everything! They basically never leave the compound and it is surrounded by a huge fence with massive amounts of barbed wire, definitely a different way of life!