Southern District

Here you’ll find travel reports about Southern District. Discover travel destinations in Israel of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

72 travelers at this place:

  • Day5

    Choose Life or Choose Death

    November 13, 2017 in Israel ⋅

    It's a good place to begin. Any trip that starts in a garden seems like it'll be a good trip. Our first stop here in Israel was a Biblical Garden in the hill country of Judah called Yad Hashmona. I took a bunch of photos there, only to discover that I had forgotten to put my memory card back into my camera. I want to go back and recapture them, but those photos are gone now.

    But even with that little mishap, a garden is still a good place to start a journey. Adam and Eve started in a garden. Theirs was a garden with a choice. They were going to choose to obey God or not. One way would lead to life and the other way would lead to death. "I have set before you life and death," God would tell them. "So choose life." (Deut 30:19).

    We ended last night with a dark drive down 3000 feet to find ourselves on the shore of the Dead Sea. This is the lowest place on earth. It actually feels like you're closer to the center of the Earth here. It's dry, the air is heavy and hot. This sea is dead and you can tell.

    One of the reasons this Dead Sea is a dead sea is because it has no outlet. The Sea of Galilee to the north teems with life as the Jordan river flows in and then right back out. It brings nutrients and life in and the Sea of Galilee responds by letting nutrients and life right back out.

    But that same Jordan river only flows into the Dead Sea. Nothing flows out of it. So the water sits.

    All that potential for life sits and stagnates.

    "I have set before you life and death,"

    My devotional this morning reads, "Whether in Eden or Canaan or California, our decision remains the same. The land where we live - be it lush or desolate - is the stage on which we act out God's glory. Regardless of our location or influences, God gives us a choice each day from which tree to eat."

    Paul writes to the Romans in Romans 15:13, "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

    As we walk through our days today, may we see every opportunity to overflow with hope and to bring life.

    Because if hope and life get stuck in us and never flow back out, it rots.
    Read more

  • Day11


    December 16, 2018 in Israel ⋅ ⛅ 22 °C

    Here we got the chance to view a Herodian Fort built on top of a massive mountain called Masada. This was possibly Herod’s Winter palace although he didn’t visit it much. The ruins are still very intact. At one stage in its history it was the fortress for The Jewish people who were fleeing Jerusalem. It became a base of operations for the Jewish resistance force and the Roman’s tried to take it by force. They had to built a massive ramp to sack the fortress. In this palace we saw Herod’s palace, the storage rooms and the bath room. You can even see the ground where the Roman 10th Legion would have set up base when they were laying the fortress to siege. What an awesome place. The pictures really don’t cut it when you have seen it in person.Read more

  • Day22


    May 28, 2015 in Israel ⋅

    Today we spent the morning at Masada. For those who don't know the story, it really is something to behold. Masada is a place that the people of Israel hold close to their hearts. The cry of the modern nation of Israel is "Masada will never happen again." The year was 67 AD, a few decades after the death of Christ and just as the early church was getting their feet underneath them. The story of Masada shows the lengths that Rome was willing to go to in order to control the Jewish population.

    Masada was a fortress that was originally built up by Herod the Great. Herod was a psychotic, brilliant and prolific personality in ancient times. His imagination for building was second to none. Masada was one of several great fortresses that he built. However, over time, this fortress fell into hands of others, including a group of Jewish rebels.

    These rebels secured themselves at the fortress of Masada. The Romans moved heaven and earth to penetrate the fortress and finally, around the year 73 AD, they gained entrance to the stronghold only to find that all of the inhabitants had committed suicide or killed each other. This ancient site is evidence of the lengths that Rome was willing to go and the extreme opposition that Jews were willing to offer to resist Roman rule.
    Read more

  • Day21

    Morning: Day 10

    May 27, 2015 in Israel ⋅

    I am the first one awake this morning here in Arad, Israel. Well, the birds and I. Lots and lots of tweeting, whistling, cawwing, screaming birds are awake too. Which is why I'm the first one awake here in Arad, Israel. I can't post photos of it, but yesterday, we did some hiking in the Judah Hill Country south of Jersualem. Our prof said it was a place where the natural habitat was similar to the way it would have been in ancient times. The thing that caught my attention, both literally and figuratively were the thorns. I would not have wanted to wander these hillsides without a trail. We stopped at a couple of archaelogical sites including the traditional area where David and Goliath battled. We moved on to the city of Ashkelon (an ancient Philistine and Cannanite city). Ashkelon is right on the Mediterranean and hosts the oldest gate in the world: the Cannanite city gate. We were standing beside a structure that dated from 1850 BC. During the time of Jacob, the city of Ashkelon boasted 150,000 ocupants. During the time of Jacob! We finished the day with a much needed dip into the Mediterranean Sea. The day was consistely over 100 degrees, so the cool water was welcome reprieve.

    A I sit outside this morning, I look over the panorama of Arad in the photo below. Yesterday, as we went from site to site, the oppressive heat (105ish) made everything a struggle. We drove about an hour south of Ashkelon for our stay tonight and our professsor said we can expect 10-15 degrees hotter today. Even the coldest water from these taps flows warm. I would not have liked to wander in these climes. But today as we head out, I am reminded of a Fransiscan prayer I had read:

    May God bless you with discomfort
    At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
    So that you may live deep within your heart

    May God bless you with anger
    At injustice, oppression and exploitation of people
    So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

    May God bless you with tears
    The shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
    So that you may reach out your hand and comfort them and
    To turn their pain into joy.

    And may God bless you with enough foolishness
    To believe that you can make a difference in the world
    So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
    To bring justice and kindess to all our children and the poor.

    Amen and amen.
    Read more

  • Day6

    Negev, Israel

    November 14, 2017 in Israel ⋅

    We spent our time in the desert in the south of Israel, the Negev. The Negev is vast and hot and barren and the thing that kept occurring to us is, "Why here?" Why did God bring the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob) here to this rough place?

    Someone said, "No wonder everyone grumbled and complained."

    It dawned on me yet again that (no new epiphany here) that we really shouldn't be too quick to judge anyone else for their lack of ability to maintain a strong faithfulness to God. You and I struggle with the same thing daily.

    Oh, and camel riding is NOT for the faint of heart. :)
    Read more

  • Day6

    The Dead Sea

    November 14, 2017 in Israel ⋅

    Our hotel in Ein Bokek is on the southern part of the Dead Sea. I mentioned yesterday part of the reason this sea is dead, but there is more to the modern story of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is a dying sea (figure that one out!). It is facing a modern ecological crisis. Water levels are dropping faster than ever before as the modern Israeli uses a 1000 times more water than an Israelite in Jesus' time. Water use (daily use, crops, irrigation), drought and evaporation are becoming so significant that the dead sea is disappearing and the modern state of Israel is scrambling to find a solution.

    In the mean time, minerals for mud masks and tourism remain at an all time high.
    Read more

  • Day6

    Bedouin Culture

    November 14, 2017 in Israel ⋅

    Besides the riding of the camels, we were treated to a cup of hot sweet tea and coffee by a man in the Bedouin community. The Bedouin used to be a nomadic people, but have since largely settled into modern political states. Just like many cultures before them, their way of life is slowly giving way to the pressures of the modern times.

    We were reminded of the importance of "desert hospitality" and how in our modern culture, this is disappearing (don't talk to strangers, lock your doors, etc.). The Bedouin who live in this hard land, depend on the hospitality of others, and there seems to be a sense of community, even among strangers, that should resonate with every Christian who witnesses it.
    Read more

  • Day6


    November 14, 2017 in Israel ⋅

    I won't go into the whole tragic story of Masada here (you can google it), but suffice it to say that this place has a weight that goes beyond the story of a Jewish revolt. It is a place of inspiration for heart, mind and soul. One look over the edge of the cliff to the Dead Sea below and you're filled with a sense of the vastness of this place. Some brave souls opted for the hike up the "Snake Path" and were given the sense of the impenetrability of the fortress. Some of us walked through the chambers that Herod built, but rarely used, and were struck with the lavishness of the accommodations. All of us saw the balls of stone hurled by the Romans and were struck by the weight of importance of this placeRead more

  • Day7

    Ein Gedi

    November 15, 2017 in Israel ⋅

    I won't talk much about this because I want to give time to the Scriptures to tell the story. I was so blown away, not by the same stories we've all heard about David hiding from Saul, but by a prophecy in the book of Ezekiel. Take a moment to read the picture of redemption that God presents to Ezekiel.

    Ezekiel 47:1–12 [1] Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. [2] Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side. [3] Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. [4] Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. [5] Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. [6] And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this? Then he led me back to the bank of the river. [7] As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. [8] And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. [9] And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. [10] Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. [11] But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. [12] And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”

    The Dead Sea will no longer be dead. It will live once and for all.
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Southern District, מחוז הדרום, Sør-Israel

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOS FindPenguins for Android

Sign up now