Last week I was at the lowest point on earth. The Dead Sea is 1300 feet below sea level making it the lowest body of water in the world. The lake, about 50 miles long and 11 miles wide, is bordered by Israel and the West Bank to the west and Jordan to the east.

Dead Sea 2

The Dead Sea is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. It is almost 10 times saltier than the ocean which prevents the existence of any life forms in it. It is fed by the Jordan River from the north and is over 1200 feet deep. However there is no outlet and more water evaporates from it than flows into it creating valuable minerals and salts.

Dead Sea 3

The Dead Sea has attracted visitors for thousands of years. In the Bible, it is a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for King Herod the Great). It has been the supplier of a wide variety of products, from asphalt for Egyptian mummification to potash for fertilizers. People also use the salt and the minerals from the Dead Sea to create cosmetics and herbal sachets.

Lent- Jericho 2

Just north of the Dead Sea is the town of Jericho, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world and the city with the oldest known protective wall in the world. Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years. The city’s site provides evidence of the first development of permanent settlements and thus of the first steps toward civilization.

Lent- Jericho

According to the biblical book of Joshua, Jericho was captured from the Canaanites by Joshua but archaeologists have not found evidence of the town of Joshua. Ruins identified as such in the 1930s were later identified as older. A nearby site has revealed a Hellenistic fortress and the palace of Herod from approximately 14 BC. Stories of Jesus’ ministry in Jericho include the healing of blind Bartimaeus and his encounter with the “wee little” man, Zacchaeus. Nearby is where Jesus was tempted immediately after his baptism in the Jordan River.

Last week I and a group of folks from Atlanta ate lunch at the Temptation Restaurant. It is located near the entrance to the excavations of the biblical city of Jericho.

Over the years of visiting the Holy Land we have watched the restaurant owner’s son grow from childhood to become a young adult. As we prepared to leave after a delicious meal (and a little shopping) this young man presented my wife and other women with a bouquet of roses.

Upon returning to our hotel in Jerusalem my granddaughter inserted one of those roses into a plastic bag and sent it back to Atlanta in a note to one of our friends. Four days letter  after returning home to Atlanta, the rose was still alive and our friend passed it on to one of her friends with serious health issues.

Faith, Hope, Love

Love shared from the lowest geographical point to a very low physical and emotional point in one person’s life. “  And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love” (I Cor. 13:13). Love knows no boundaries.

Jamie Jenkins

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