One of Several Waterfalls at En Gedi
By the time we left En Gedi it was too late to visit the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Qumran closes early on Fridays due to the Sabbath that begins at sunset on Friday night. So, we then drove to Kalya beach to experience a swim in the Dead Sea. This was quite disappointing to each of us. It was severely hot, very touristy, muddy, expensive to get into, and left us feeling really gross with a film of salt on us. True there are places to shower off at, but only on the outside of your swimsuit! Overall, I don’t regret visiting here. We can say we stood at the lowest point on earth -1300ish feet below sea level and that we experienced floating high on the water. It’s a fun place to remember as I sit here on my comfy couch but at the time I was not too impressed.
The next day we began our trip back. We had to check out of our AirBnb, return the rental car, and get to the airport in time to return to Sarajevo for our time in Bosnia.
There is so much more I can share about this trip and all the planning that went into it but as I stated at the beginning of this post, my aim is to show how the Holy Spirit was working in me on this trip and perhaps encourage you who can empathize with what I was experiencing. Here are a few parting lessons I came away with:
Make a plan but set low expectations.
I have found that this principle is a great key to living a joyful life. When we set high expectations on ourselves or on others then what typically happens is that nobody can live up to those expectations and our lives follow a pattern of continual disappointment. You are guaranteed nothing in life. On this trip I had a plan that I had been working on for over a year. I would not let unintended changes to this plan rob me of my joy. We need to plan so we have a target to aim for but we also need to roll with the punches and realize that God may have other plans, plans that are better than ours. In hindsight, if things had gone as I planned then I wouldn’t have had such a rich experience as what actually happened. I am not advocating for living a life of pessimism. But the person who sees the glass half full rather than half empty is the person who didn’t expect to have any water in the first place.
Live life fearlessly.
I understand that visiting Israel for the first time and traveling by car is not what most people would do and is a scary thing to consider. I am not exactly a fearless person. There are many areas in my life where I need to put the fear behind me and move on, and this is usually the case in personal relationships than in interacting with the world. Remember that many great, enriching opportunities in life will be missed if you are looking for the easy way out.
Pause and Reflect.
The turning point of this entire trip was when I intentionally took time to be with God and spent time in prayer. It made all the difference and took me from the low point of the trip to the high point within a matter of hours. We have a tendency to want to be on the go all the time. We need to plan times in our life regularly to step back and look at the big picture.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’ll remember this trip for as long as I live. I hope to post about Bosnia soon. Other amazing life lessons were learned there as well.