We stayed overnight at Mitzpe Ramon in a youth hostel (it was actually fairly nice). It is situated on the edge of the Super Bowl - which is a geological feature that has carved a huge depression in the ground. I had a chance to do my quiet time on an edge of a cliff overlooking this huge depression. The variety of beauty that God has placed on this Earth is amazing. Below is one picture and it does not do the area justice. Additionally, it had been blazing hot everywhere we went, but at Mitzpe Ramon the weather relented and brought us all refreshment.
We later went to Avdat (an important Nabotean City). This town was eventually converted to Christianity and had to Churches. I find this interesting that a town in this time period had two Churches and they were within 150 ft of each other. Then we spent time at a Wadi near Avdat. This was a beautiful area that had a challenging hike up the side of the Wadi wall. This was an amazing hike and I was feeling good, so I went. Here is a picture of the Wadi.
We went from there to Beersheba. They found an altar their that looked half pagan and half Jewish in design. The excavator of the site was Amaroni and he was never every to firmly establish the location of the temple area. Typically temple areas where built on top of old cultic sites, so he was intrigued as to why he was not finding this. They did find a room that had no floor going down very deep. His conclusion is that Hezekiah uprooted the temple so completely that he dug up every temple going as far back as they could dig. Here is a picture of the reconstructed altar found there with a living sacrifice on top.
The last place we stopped was Arad, where we explored the site where they found a temple that reflected Israelite worship and design. Inside of what would have been the Holy of Holies were two standing stones. Some scholars believe that one represented YHWH and the other Ashura. Other scholars think that these two stones were to represent the law given the absence of the Ark of the Covenant in their temple. Intriguing.
Blessings - DC