People usually imagine Judea and Samaria Deserts as a kind of a dead land. And indeed, in mid-summer these areas are just naked stones burning in the sun.
But somehow these mystical areas have given life to dozens of ancient monasteries, some of them still active, hiding deep in the mountains.
And not only that, these deserts feed huge amount of sheep and goats, pasturing peacefully under a sharp eye of Bedouin Sheppard and watched by their huge dogs.
And indeed, these ancient places have a secret – they are covered with a thin layer of a very mild Lime stone, a remnant of a primordial Ocean. This stone collects water like a sponge, and creates natural water reservoirs just under the surface. And due to that, short winter rains supply enough water to be kept for the whole year. There are wells everywhere, and even small brooks are running happily all year around through the desert.
But still, the best time in these deserts is the spring. Early spring time at Judean and Samarian Deserts is absolutely fascinating. High mountains, overlooking Jordan River and the Dead Sea, are all covered with the carpets of colorful flowers and bright-green grass. Cold wind is blowing onto the deep valley below, and the sun is playing with the shadows. And water – water is everywhere!
The noise of the running water is mixed with the blowing winds and voices of the sheep and the goats. But otherwise it is absolutely quiet, and nothing disturbs the glory of these Biblical places which stay the same since the time of the Patriarchs.
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ST. GEORGE MONASTERY IN JUDEA DESERT
BEDUIN AND HIS SHEEP