Christian Living

Spiritual Life

The Beauty of the Lands of the Bible

Crack open your Bible and you aren’t just introduced to a cast of characters or a series of stories. You also learn to love a land. From the Israelites’ wanderings in the wilderness to the hill-country of Judea where Jesus walked, Scripture reveals to us the beauty of the land of Israel.

That beauty lives on today – and brings millions from all over the world to explore its diverse topography. Many visit Eilat, the southernmost city in the country sitting right on the edge of the Red Sea. While the city might not look like much from the shore, plunge beneath the surface of the sea and you’ll find yourself in a kingdom of delight.

“[T]his is one of the most beautiful reefs in this particular area of the world,” observes Shai Nahon, an ecological tour guide born and raised in the south of Israel. “There’s a very high level of fish and a variety of species that you can actually see while diving around. The reef is growing rather than shrinking. It has to do with a lot of the conservation work that Israel has done towards making sure that the reef stays here.”

If Israel boasts many watery wonders, its wilderness is no less impressive. The Negev desert region is home to Maktesh Ramone – a crater formed by erosion that is so large it can be seen from space. If that weren’t impressive enough, consider this: There are nine maktesh craters in the world, and seven of them are within Israel.

Watch a trailer for the new video series from Passages Israel, "Israel Explored".

The region features a number of interesting geological phenomena, including multicolored sandstone and hexagonal pieces of rock that naturally formed into this shape. The Israel National Trail, which begins in Eilat, brings hikers through Maktesh Ramone and up to the north of the country.

Also in the Negev Desert is the Dead Sea – the lowest habitable point in the world at 1,300 feet below sea level. The sea is 37.6% salt, a property that increases buoyancy in the water and makes it easy to float. It sits between two tectonic plates that continue to separate, gradually deepening the sea over time.

Many travelers choose to hike the Israel National Trail, which extends all the way from Eilat, through the desert and into the green, hilly region of Jerusalem. That’s precisely what Aryeh Green did – at 51 years old. Joining free spirits and college students on the trail, he went on a journey of reflection and self-discovery after his marriage broke down – and he even wrote a book about it.

“Think of it kind of like California,” he explains. “It’s got desert in the south; it’s got the sea to the west; it’s got hills to the east; and it’s got forests and mountains to the north.”

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It’s an apt comparison – there’s even skiing in the north of Israel, known as the Golan Heights, much the same way that there is in northern California. Many Israelis travel there to hit the slopes and enjoy a slower pace of life after years in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. Ilan Shulmans one of them. After several years in the army, he returned to the Golan Heights where he was born and currently lives on a kibbutz, or small Jewish community, called Merom Golan.

With so much to marvel at and explore in just this small corner of the world, it’s no wonder the descriptions of the land found in the Bible are so rich. That’s why Israelis work so hard to defend the land – and why it leaves such a deep mark on those fortunate enough to journey within it.

Experience the natural wonders of Israel in a new way through “Israel Explored,” a new video series from Passages. You can get access to the full six-part series at passagesisrael.org/cbn.

Watch a trailer for the new video series from Passages Israel, "Israel Explored":

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