Dead Sea – Israel

If you visit Israel, make sure to take a “swim” in this mineral rich body of water. “Swim” is in quotes because it is almost 33% salt and you have incredible buoyancy. Basically, it’s impossible to drown – as the salt lifts the upper part of your body out of the water. You can even read a book while floating in the water. It is the wildest thing, if you have never experienced this hyper-buoyancy before. And, it’s a lot of fun!

Scriptural Significance

The Dead Sea is referred to by a number of names in Scripture:

  • The Salt Sea  (Genesis 14: 3; Numbers 34: 12)
  • The Sea of Arabah (Deuteronomy 3: 17; 4: 49)
  • The Eastern Sea (Joel 2: 20; Zechariah 14: 8)

In Ezekiel 47: 1 – 12, the prophet is given a vision of a mighty fresh-water river flowing forth from the Temple and down to the Sea of Arabah. The water comes with such volume that it heals the bitter waters and purifies the Dead Sea so that it ends up rich with life.  This prophecy will one day be fulfilled during the Millennial reign of the Messiah.

The Dead Sea is the lowest dry point on earth at 1,369 feet below sea level (as of 2005). At an average width of 10 miles, it reaches a depth of more than 1,312 feet.  It is situated between steep, rocky cliffs and is fed by the Jordan River as well as 5 other smaller streams, which pour into it millions of tons of water per day. While the Dead Sea has no outlet, an enormous amount of evaporation takes place. This forms a heavy vapor and contributes to the bitterness of the Sea.

As a result of flowing through nitrous soil and being fed by sulfurous springs, the streams that feed it are unusually saline. Hot springs also feed chemicals in from the bottom of the Sea.  Deposits of petroleum and sulfur line the shore. At the SE end a ridge of rock salt 300 feet high runs for five miles, and the bed of the sea appears to be covered with salt crystals. The water is nauseating to the taste and oily to the touch, leaving upon the skin, when it dries, a thick crust of salt. But it is very brilliant.

The Dead Sea from On High – NASA Satellite image