The Dead Sea Scrolls

Trip Start Jul 16, 1975
Trip End Jul 15, 1976

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Flag of Palestinian Territory  , West Bank,
Thursday, October 16, 1975

Now, down to the lowest point on earth - 1,290 feet below sea level.  The Dead Sea is 7 times more salty than average seawater.  Too harsh for any plant or animal life to exist.  Because the water is so dense, bodies float.  I stretched out flat on the water.  Amazing.  Even an unconfident swimmer like myself could do it.  Just don't drink the water.  The salty reminder lingers...

For me, one of the more remarkable aspects of this trip has been learning biblical stories on their traditional sites.  Why?  The archeology and geology I'm seeing support their validity.  One of the more interesting stories is here at the Dead Sea.

The traditional sites of Sodom and Gomorrah are just south of the Dead Sea.  Both were turned into salt.  The Dead Sea is not a typical body of water.  A narrow jedi separates the main body at the north from a shallow pool at the south end.  One theory, as explained by my tour guide, is that the original sea was the larger, northerly body of water.  It later spilled into the ruined cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Is the Dead Sea proof of the ancient doomed cities?  No.  But the correlation is pretty intriguing.  Envisioning the biblical stories here becomes pretty easy.  Especially when I'm learning most of them for the first time.  Trying to disprove the stories, on the other hand, becomes a little difficult.

Another major source of Israel's GNP is salt.  Water from the Dead Sea is pumped into several nearby vats and left to evaporate.  One reason is that the crystallized residue is known for its healing properties.

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