Day 3: Jesus Met Me on a Hammock.

by Alexandra Rutkowski

I never thought I’d be spending the night in a Bedouin camp in the desert… surreal.

The morning/night started at 4 am – our much-anticipated hike up Masada. This famous mountain fortress is a 1300 ft high hike, and taking a snake path up took more than an hour of rigorous hiking. Problem is I hadn’t gotten to sleep yet that night. I had an amazing time with God and then lost track of time, and by the time 4:00 am came around, it was too late. I just had to deal. It came back to haunt me later on though. J I don’t think any workout can ever quite compare to hiking Masada. WOW. This is the mountain where Herod built his impenetrable mountain fortress- his paranoia is clearly visible through the architecture of the place. It was absolutely brilliant. On another note, this is also the location of the last stand of the 900+ Jews during the Roman War in 70 AD, resulting in their mass suicide atop the mountain. I’ve been looking forward to the Masada hike for so long. By the time we reached the top, we were absolutely exhausted and stayed up there until 9 am. It was just amazing looking over the never-ending desert and sky around us. God is so incredible; I wish I could describe how beautiful it was! Thankfully, we took a cable car down.

I can proudly say I hiked this mountain at four in the morning on not one minute of sleep.

After Masada, we packed up from the hostel and went to Arad where, after a quick lunch, visited an artist’s home. This Christian sculptor came from America, completely assimilated into the Israeli culture, did time in the Israeli army as his sons have, and has gained so much respect from his neighbors. People are completely in shock to hear that a Christian would ever do something like this for them. (For them, Christians means Catholic, and they associate us with all the religious persecution that had taken place.) He showed us a large 7-panel sculpture, which related the suffering of Christ to the crucifixion of Christ. The parallels were so incredible. We were all so blown away. For the sake of space and time at the moment, I won’t go into detail, but if anyone’s interested, go ahead and ask Caleb or myself. It’s something you don’t want to miss.

By the way, just as a side note: Israel is the only place on earth where complaining about traffic is contending against the fulfilling of prophecy.

            Here’s where the fun begins. We drive off into the Judean Desert and are dropped off at a Bedouin camp where we spent the night. CAMELS! Yes, camels. Camels. Camels. We rode camels in the desert! As you can see, I was thoroughly excited. Still am. I named mine Theodore, and yes, he was good to me. 

            We spent the night in the desert, worshipping around a campfire and fellowshipping. I chose to spend the night in a hammock on the roof of the tent, under a straw roof. There I was, sitting in my hammock, overlooking the Negev desert and surrounding mountains. This is where Abraham walked through. This is the place where his journey took place. The group was at the campfire, but I just needed to get away and spend time with Him. All I can say is that Jesus sure did meet me on my hammock. It was just me and Him alone. One moment it was just silence. Another moment was laughter. I sang songs to Him, some downright ridiculous to make Him laugh, and I just spent time listening. It was good to come as a child and say, “Daddy, I’ve got a problem, and I’m tired of trying to fix stuff on my own. I need to talk to you about everything.” I spent hours in that hammock. Crying, laughing, and singing. Just me and Jesus. (And my teddy bear.) Oh wow, what an incredible night.