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On Friday of last week I went on an all-day hike down the Sorek Valley with Dan and Paula, the awesome couple who is doing the cooking at JUC this year. We walked across Jerusalem, stopping by the market to get some pita for lunch. We walked beneath the big white train bridge and then went off the road onto a trail leading down to an old abandoned Arab town called Neftoah. This town is here because of a spring which still functions even though the town is now deserted. The waters coming from this spring appear in Joshua 15:9 and 18:15 as part of the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.

Today, the spring runs out of a rock face into a pool. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t get any pictures of the pool in the morning because it was full of 60-something year old men skinny (or perhaps not so skinny) dipping! We scurried on down the trail.

As you can see from the pictures it was a beautiful, though overcast, day. There were flowers and birds everywhere. We saw kingfishers and a golden eagle. Also, we saw two mountain gazelles. One had only one horn. They were too far away for me to get a picture.

After hiking for about four hours we turned around and walked back up the Sorek Wadi to Jerusalem. We were rained on pretty hard on the way back, but it was fun. And, the rain might have been why their were no naked men at the pool of Neftoah upon our return. Thus, I have a picture of the pool included in this post.

Enjoy the pictures. For those of you who have only been here in the summer, fall or winter, this is what the entire hill country from Dan to Beersheba looks like in the spring! It is an amazing transformation.

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