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Lady Flames' Israel Journey: Day 2

June 7, 2014
|  Jerusalem, Israel
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The Lady Flames pose with the Dead Sea in the background.

On Saturday, the Liberty women's basketball team traveled south from Tiberias to Jerusalem, taking in a number of landmarks along the way. Catherine Kearney shares today's blog entry.

Hello Everyone!

It is only day two in Israel, but I already feel like I've been here for weeks because we have been able to see so many awesome things! Our day started out bright and early with breakfast at our hotel, which was right on the Sea of Galilee.

After breakfast, we headed toward Beit She'an, which is located in the Jezreel Valley. We learned that it was the place where Saul and all of his sons were killed by the Philistines. The ruins from the city were awesome! We spent the morning exploring the amphitheater, bathhouse, gym (that included a cold tub and indoor sauma) and many other ruins.

We continued on through the Judean desert, past the ancient city of Jericho, and made our next stop at the Dead Sea! As soon as we arrived, we all went running into the water, screaming and squealing along the way. Everyone lathered up with the mud, and spent an hour floating around in the water! The water was nice, as long as people don't splash it in your eyes!!! (Sid! ;))

Our next stop was at Qumran. It is best known as being the location where a young goat herder found the Dead Sea Scrolls. Qumran is also a great example of a city that made a qay to survive in the middle of the harsh conditions of the desert.

Our final stop of the day was at Masada, which is a large flat area on the top of a cliff in the wilderness of Judah. It was originally built by King Herod as a military fortress, but also included an elaborate palace on the north side. When Jerusalem fell in 70 A.D., a band of rebel Jews took it over and used it as a stronghold. I thought this was one of the most interesting places we visited today, but I'll leave it up to you to look up the dramatic end of the story!

Today was definitely packed, and it left most if not all of the team exhausted. Every time we got back on the bus to move on to our next stop, everyone (except me) took a couple power naps! This left me with some valuable time to take some funny pictures of everyone sleeping (that may end up on Facebook.)

Although I was just as tired as everyone else, I did not want to miss any of the views of the Dead Sea, the Judean desert or the mountains. It is awesome to see the backdrop of so many Bible stories I've learned growing up. It is like watching a movie after reading the book, except the "movie" is a million times better than I could have ever imagined!

One of the stories that specifically came to live for me was the story of the shepherd leaving his flock to go after one sheep. Looking at the mountains in the wilderness put into perspective how far that shepherd probably had to go to save that one sheep! Looking at that as a picture of what Christ does for us makes it so much more real and clear just how much he really loves us! I wish I could capture the beautiful scenery in a picture, but it just doesn't do it justice!

We ended our day by checking into our hotel in Jerusalem, trying some new Israeli foods for dinner and getting in a quick band workout. I am so excited to explore Jerusalem, and continue to walk where Jesus walked!

Shalom everyone!