Coming back to stuff that can help us to understand the Bible. When you read about Israelites wandering for 40 years in the desert and compare it with maps you will ask yourself. “It doesn’t make sense at all. One can walk this distance in a couple of weeks.” However it is our western approach to travelling. Bedouins wouldn’t find it strange at all. For them getting to the destination is not the priority. If they find a place they like they pitch their tents and stay there. They don’t rush. The people who left Egypt under Moses were of this kind. They had nomadic life style in their blood. Just think about Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They were nomads and so were their descendants. They don’t need 40 years to cross the desert and for sure they didn’t get lost in the desert but most likely they needed 40 years to prepare themselves for a big change that was going to happen, they were going to settle down. Bedouins say that the change was quick as for them 40 years doesn’t seem to be enough to get nomadic way of life out of their system.
Still reflecting on these thoughts we made our way to the lowest place on the Earth where human can breathe without any equipment – Dead Sea. Its surface is 423 meters below sea level. It is a weird feeling when you see a road sign telling you that you are descending under see level and you are still a
long way up from the surface of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is 55 kilometers long and 18 kilometers wide at its widest point. With 33.7% salinity it is also one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water. It is 9 times saltier then the ocean. It makes the water inhabitable for plants and fish but it makes even the most hopeless swimmer float easily. Somebody compared swimming in the Dead Sea to corn floating in chicken soup. Well after “swimming” in the Dead Sea I think I understand how corn may feel in chicken soup. However apart from having fun floating isn’t the only plus of the water. It has got some medical qualities. The first thing you find out is whether you have any cuts, scratches of sunburn on your skin. However after some time in the water they get sealed. An interesting but also warning fact is that the water level drops a meter every year due to extensive exploration and reduced flow of Jordan into the Sea.
As one looks at the map of Israel he can discover that from the South to the North there is a deep valley which is called Rift Valley. To the north there is the Sea of Galilee and to the south there is the Dead Sea. The Sea of Galilee is full of life while the Dead Sea….. Well it is dead. Someone made an observation that the difference between them is that they while both get water from the Jordan River only the Sea of Galilee let the water keep flowing further. There is no escape for the water from the Dead Sea. It is said that the Dead Sea is “selfish” keeping the water just for itself. That’s why over millennia evaporating water left the Sea with increasing level of minerals that eventually killed all life in it. We can say that it is another message for us written in the geography of the Holy Land. If we don’t share with others the gifts God has given us, if we keep them just for ourselves, we start turning ourselves into a Dead Sea.