Check out Part 2 of my trip to Israel in the Christian Today, August 9, 2010
Day two was Dead Sea day and Qumran. Only a 30 minute drive over the Mount of Olives and through the Judean desert, the traveller passes by the Inn of the Good Samaritan descending below sea level.
Jericho, a Palestinian town, can be seen from the motorway as the Dead Sea comes into view. Further beyond is Mount Nebo in Jordan from which Moses surveyed the Promised Land.
Our first stop was Qumran, made famous by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls by a Bedouin shepherd boy in 1946. Found hidden in a number of caves, they are the earliest manuscripts of the Bible, which date back 2000 years, and include a full copy of the book of Isaiah.
It is possible to walk up to the caves, which my brother and I did, although it is quite rocky and potentially dangerous (not to be recommended during a heat wave!).