Bethel International United Methodist Church
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What Will People Find in Our Earthen Jars?

For many visiting the Holy Land, the fortress of Masada is theirMasada most powerful experience. Like the Jewish people of today, it was the few (967) against the many (2 legions of Roman soldiers). Those zealots felt it better to commit suicide and go against the law of God than to submit to enslavement. Was it heroism, destiny, or disobedience? Our small group of 33 wrestled with the agony of those men, women, and children as we walked amidst the ruins atop 42 acres of desert palace built by Herod for himself in 24 B.C.

We then traveled to the caves in Qumran where a sect of Jews, the Essenes, had abandoned what they perceived a corrupt temple for a monastic life. With the fall of the Temple in 70 A.D., these nomadic people hid their sacred works (copied books of the Hebrew Bible, as well as other Jewish writings) in pottery jars in these almost inaccessible caves near the Dead Sea. Their dramatic discovery began in 1947 when Bedouin shepherds accidentally came upon some of them while lCindyooking for a stray goat.

After a storytelling of Abraham’s conflict in knowing how to deal with the mothers of his sons, Isaac and Ishmael, we had a time of reflection. Under the backdrop of Qumran, both Kathy’s, Cindy (pictured here), and Dorothy spoke about how they would never be the same.

Tuesday made us all think about our call in Christ, our purpose for living, and how people will remember us generations from now.

Even the Dead Sea itself has a life expectancy. We had fun in its waters full of healing mudDead Sea and minerals. It seemed so vast at 42 miles long, 9 miles wide, and 800 feet deep at its deepest point. But unless a talked-about rerouting of the Red Sea takes place, with all of it ecological implications, the Dead Sea will die its own death in our lifetime (a million gallons evaporates every day).

Paul’s words so often come back to me -- “You yourselves…are a letter of Christ…written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts” (2 Cor 3:2-3).