Day four of the Connor Diocesan pilgrimage to the Holy Land was a busy one, with camel riding, floating in the Dead Sea, braving a cable car, and even getting a little spot of sunshine!
It was an early start for the 85 pilgrims on Friday March 25, leaving their Jerusalem hotel at 7.30am to drive to Qumran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered. There they had an opportunity to view the caves the scrolls were found in, and to see some of the ancient scrolls themselves.
Then it was on towards the Dead Sea and up to the mountain of Masada, home to the ruins of Herod’s desert fortress. The group ascended to the peak of Masada by cable car, an experience in itself, and the ruins gave an idea of just how magnificent a structure this fortress clinging to the hillside must have been with its baths, dovecots and remarkable water system.
With the sun threatening to come out the groups travelled onto the Lot Hotel on the shores of the Dead Sea for lunch and a bathe if desired in the therapeutic waters of the sea, which contains minerals and is 30 per cent salt.
Next stage in the journey took the group into Palestinian Jericho, where they viewed a 1,000-year-old sycamore tree on the site where Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus. They saw the site in Wilderness where Jesus remained for 40 days and nights, and some of the group experienced their first camel ride.
The last stop of the day was at Wald Qelt where there was an amazing view of the Judean Wilderness, and as the sun was dropping in the sky a wonderful sense of peace, calm and beauty. And a chance for anothercamel ride in a quite spectacular setting!