The oasis at Timna Park
14 October 2016
It was a whole lot of trouble getting here and getting inside the park, but worth it! So worth it! Nina joined me at the very last possible moment. Previously we had thought that she wouldn’t be able to get time off from work, then suddenly she found herself out of work, as was her employer. When we tried to get her a ticket on the same flight, the payment phase failed—three times! But finally we were able to get it. Our flight was an overnight flight with a connection in Rome.
We arrived in Tel Aviv in the wee hours of the morning and took a train from the airport into town. We knew that the bus station was somewhere near the train station, but being pre-dawn, we would never have found it without an English-speaking woman who was doing the exact same thing that we were doing. We followed behind her, dragging our bags like ducklings following the mama duck. We got our bus tickets and even got some breakfast. I had slept on the flight. Then I slept on the bus ride to Eilat. Poor Nina suffers from motion sickness, so she sat by the window, trying desperately not to throw up.
In Eilat we took a taxi to our hostel just because we had no idea how to find it. The Shelter is a Christian hostel. I would love to have spent more time there, getting to know them, but we had to get out to Timna the next day before sundown, when the park closed. All day seems like plenty of time, but we had a lot that we needed to do: check out of the hostel, pick up a rental car, go back to the hostel and pick up our bags, shop for camping supplies and groceries, and get out to the park before they close the gates. The day was fraught with one little problem after another. We couldn’t find our car rental company. We knew it was near the airport, but we couldn’t find the airport, either. Then we got lost getting back to The Shelter. And then we had more trouble than we could ever have imagined, trying to find a place that sells camping supplies. But eventually, we got it all and made it to the park by four in the afternoon.
When we arrived at Timna Park we were shocked to find that the gates were locked up tight. So we waited. What else could we do? Finally a car arrived. They were also surprised that the gates were locked, and called somebody. Then a tour bus arrived on the other side of the gate. We moved our cars out of his way and let him through. The gate began to close as we frantically tried to get through it, but no luck. Another couple of girls arrived who opened the gate with the code. They sped off down the road and we entered.
By the oasis I found a park employee who showed us to our tent. The rental tents are really nice. They are pop-up trailers that have been permanently parked, set up, and kitted-out with electric hookups in a little metal cupboard. The mattresses are not on the ground, and the whole thing is very comfortable: glamping. Bathrooms are a short walk away, and so is Wifi, though I intend only to make the most minimal use of it.
After quickly getting settled in, Nina and I took out our little plastic cups and celebrated the Lord’s Supper. I was sorry that we had forgotten to get candles for Shabbat, but the Holy Spirit point out to me that we have His light inside of us: two people who are His two lights for Shabbat. My eyes welled-up with tears at the beauty of this truth.
Nina prepares supper on our little camp stove
Since my first time celebrating the Feast of Tabernacles in Poland, I have loved this divine appointed time above all the rest. But here in the Holyland, spending Tabernacles in a tent (as we are commanded to do) is by far the most special Feast—and it’s only just beginning. God is good!