Tuesday, 10 January 2012
Massada, Qumran & the Dead Sea
We started by visiting Massada, the mountain-top fortress which played such a significant role in defence for so long. Herod (who ruled 37-4BCE) recognised the strategic nature of this location and used as a defence. During his time it operated as a luxurious palace and it is amazing to think of how they would have got all the necessary supplies up the mountain in those days. This was a very different experience, and yet a reminder of the possibilities of human achievement and a marker of the skills and abilities that God gives us.
From Massada we went to Qumran and learned something of the Essene community that was based there from the 2nd century BCE. This is, of course, the site of the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and so has gained a significant place in Christian history.
We live in a world where we tend to spend lots of time rushing round. It is good to remember that we need those times when we give ourselves space and are able to relax and so be refreshed. That is, as much as anything, a spiritual lesson to learn.