After leaving Masada we were hot and hungry. It was about 1:00 and our next stop was for lunch and a swim. We were headed to the Crowne Plaza resort for lunch and a dip in the Dead Sea for those who were interested. The hotel furnished robes, etc. for our group.
The Dead Sea is actually a large inland lake which measures about 50 miles long and 10 miles wide. It is approximately 12 miles east of Jerusalem in southeastern Israel. Known through the Bible as the Salt Sea, the Sea of the Plain, or the Eastern Sea, it today forms part of the international boundary with the Kingdom of Jordan.
The Dead Sea has numerous extremes. Its surface is 1,290 feet below the surface of the Mediterranean, which is just 50 miles to the west. It’s only 10 feet deep at its shallowest, but reaches a depth of 1,300 feet at its deepest. The salt content has been measured to be five times that of the oceans. The high salinity is the reason that very little life is found in the waters - it really is a dead sea.
The Jordan River is the main source of water for the Dead Sea, with a few smaller rivers also emptying into it. Despite the constant inflow, and the fact that it has no outlet, the level of the Dead Sea changes very little over the year. This is the result of the extremely high rate of evaporation from the heat of its wide-open, below sea level, desert location. The water quickly evaporates, but the salt remains. In fact, some of the resorts are no longer sitting on the edge of the Dead Sea because it has evaporated so much that the waterline has receded significantly.
I opted out of the swim. They warned us that people with high blood pressure or other health conditions should not enter the water because of the extremely high salt and mineral content. I was having issues with swollen feet and decided that I would really enjoy just resting and watching. I don’t know what kind of tree this is, but it was beautiful.
The water is a lovely aqua. It’s really strange not to see any boats, skiers, etc. on this huge body of water. The mountains that you see in the distance are in Jordan. These are some of the girls on our bus.
The white you see in the distance is salt. I thought it was interesting that scholars think that Sodom and Gommorah were located just south of the Dead Sea. The mineral concentration of the Dead Sea waters has long been known to have medicinal value. Aristotle, Queen of Sheba, King Solomon and Cleopatra all took advantage of this and modern doctors as well often prescribe patients with skin ailments to soak in the waters of the Dead Sea. We saw the Ahava factory.
What does the future hold for the Dead Sea? Is it going to evaporate away?
After the return of Jesus, the Bible tells us that:
And he said to me, "This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the stagnant waters of the sea, the water will become fresh. And wherever the river goes every living creature which swarms will live, and there will be very many fish; for this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
Fishermen will stand beside the sea; from Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets; its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt.
By the river on its bank, on one side and on the other, will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither and their fruit will not fall. They will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary, and their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.” Ezekial 47:8-12