Head east out of Jerusalem through the Judean Desert to visit Qumran, where the famed Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Modern scholarship places a community of Essenes at this site, and it is possible that John the Baptist spent some time with the community here.
Drive along the shore of the Dead Sea, to the oasis at Ein Gedi, where David hid from King Saul, and you can hike to a desert waterfall.
In the afternoon, take the cable-car to the top of Massada, scene of the epic stand by Jewish rebels at the end of the great revolt against Rome nearly 2,000 years ago. The new museum at the visitor’s center reveals the secrets of the daily life of the rebels, the story of the excavations, and how the site became one of Israel’s most important symbols.
Enjoy a healthful and relaxing dip in the Dead Sea, the lowest, saltiest body of water on earth, before returning to Jerusalem.