Where Would You Hide?
En-gedi, an Oasis in the Desert
Imagine you’re David. You’ve just killed Goliath. You’ve joined the king’s army. You married the king’s daughter. Life seems good. Then you find out that the king wants to kill you! What would you do? Yep, run! According to 1 Samuel 19:18 that is exactly what David did…he “fled and escaped.” Chapters 19-23 detail the places to which David fled, and in 23:19 we read that “David…lived in the strongholds of En-gedi.”
Now, if you know your Israel geography, you know that En-gedi (or Ein Gedi) is located in the southern part of the country, near the Dead Sea, in the vicinity of Masada and Qumran. It’s hot there. Really hot. And dry. How would a fugitive survive there? Yes, there are caves in which to hide and that would provide shade. But what about water? Food? Well, if you know Hebrew, you know that the word “ein” means spring. Fresh water spring. Cool, fresh water. En-gedi is an oasis in the desert along the western shore of the Dead Sea.
As you arrive at En-gedi, one of the first things you will notice is the gorgeous palm trees and the lush greenery, evidence of the fertility of the ground. Most likely you will also see ibex crossing your path. You will probably see some rock hyrax (rock badgers) hanging out on the rocks as you make your way along the path leading to the springs. The trek will be worth it as you arrive at the springs and dip your feet in (or jump right in) the fresh water. While you’re enjoying the water, look around, notice the caves. Now you know why David fled there. If you were running for your life in Israel, wouldn’t you want to hide here, too?