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A Beautiful Land

I have to admit, my first day in Israel, I couldn’t quite see why so many Psalms praised the beauty of the land. It’s much hillier than I had expected (although here they call mountains what at home we call hills…), and covered with rocks and boulders. But the further we have travelled here, the more I see its praiseworthy beauty. Someone has said, “When God went to create the world, he decided to create a scale model, and called it Israel.” There’s truth in this; within very short distances, it is possible to go from sea to mountain to valley to desert. A great deal of variety (not to mention history) are packed into this small country, and every twenty minutes of driving brings to view a new geography.

It’s spring here, and the flowers are in full bloom. The above field of wild poppies is in the Jordan River Valley. The near side is Israel; the other side of the river is the country of Jordan.

One of my favorite adventures so far on the trip was swimming in the Dead Sea. The lowest point on the face of the earth, the Dead Sea (also known as the Salt Sea) is composed so heavily of minerals that nothing grows or lives in it. Its mineral composition also makes the water so dense that you can sit down in it and float. Which was great for me, since I don’t normally have a floatable bone in my body. That was a real delight, to lie in the water, without effort or fear, and bob like an apple.

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