After Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, he was told, “David is in the Desert of Ein Gedi.” – 1 Samuel 24:1
For a few minutes, our group traveling in Israel was a little tentative.
If we were going to take a swim, it would require the middle-aged awkwardness for most of us to strip down to our suits. If we were going to get in the water, there would also be that momentary shock of moving from desert heat to the cold water of Ein Gedi’s natural pools.
But once a couple of hikers were in the water, the rest followed suit, pun intended.
Ein Gedi doesn’t have the largest swimming holes you’ll ever find. Most are smaller than many backyard pools in America. But once you step away from the 100-degree heat of the Judean wilderness and find the shade of Ein Gedi, you’ll never forget the experience.
Waterfalls pour dramatically over the cliffs. The Dead Sea sits like a perfect picture at the bottom of the oasis. Thick foliage surrounds the pools, but the harsh nature of the desert is never more than a few feet away. An occasional small deer – the ibex – can be spotted relaxing in the shade.
Our group took only a few moments to fall in love with the water. After a few days of hiking in the harsh desert, this was a taste of heaven.
We played in the waterfalls, and the sensation of water pounding on our shoulders was incredible. “It’s like a massage from God,” one traveler shouted to another. Both laughed, and ducked under the water for one more delightful session.
Remember when David was hiding from King Saul? The record in the Bible tells us he liked to hide in Ein Gedi.
Fresh water to drink. Refreshing swims. Small deer ready to be hunted and roasted over a fire. Caves for cover and fruit from the trees.
No wonder he hid there. The only surprise, perhaps, is that he ever left!
Soon enough we had to leave Ein Gedi, too. But I’ll be back, and I can already feel the water pounding on my shoulders …
Want to visit Ein Gedi with Pastor Andy Cook? Visit experienceisraelnow.com for details on his next trip, and to find more resources that will help you learn new lessons from the land of the Bible.