En Gedi Adventure


On Friday, the sixteenth of August, thirteen members of our Shevet community set out to traverse the desert oasis of En Gedi. Jerusalem’s bustling city streets faded in the distance, while a vast lunar landscape stretched out before us. The highway wound southward like a black ribbon, skirting the Dead Sea’s iridescent shores, then inland along sandstone precipices.


Perhaps it was the thrill of adventure or just the simple fact that we were outside on a beautiful day that boosted team morale in light of the forecast’s blazing August temperatures (~107ºF). There’s no denying it was hot, even at eight in the morning. We set out, nevertheless, coated in sunscreen and laden with water. Besides a herd of grazing ibex, several other hikers gathered near the Wadi Arugot trailhead. What a relief to see we weren’t the only crazy ones out there!


Within minutes of hiking, our current study through 1 Samuel suddenly became 3-D. It’s no wonder David chose the wilderness of En Gedi as his refuge from Saul’s relentless pursuit. Hidden caves plus a constant desert stream equals the perfect hideout. I couldn’t help but think how this austere, yet stunning backdrop inspired David’s poetic spirit. “O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You In a dry and thirsty land Where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.” (Psalm 63:1-2)


I think we all found ourselves caught up in the magnitude of our surroundings, with new discoveries around every corner. Contours, textures, and dramatic color contrasts provided a feast for the eyes. And right in the middle of dry desert mountains was a lush swath of green bordering the stream. The climax of our trek was perhaps sitting at the foot of a thundering waterfall, letting the water surge over us, basking in its strength and immediate assuagement of heat. “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.” (Psalm 42:7)


One truth that remains with me from this day is the reality that we experienced refreshment in the midst of a desert. What a parallel to the way God often works in our lives. Enjoy these remaining images of our adventure!