The Dead Sea’s Present Use and Rich History
The Dead Sea, located 1300 feet below sea level and landlocked between Jordan, Israel, the West Bank, and Palestine, has attracted people from all over the world for centuries.
The Dead Sea has gained popularity in recent years, as it’s been attached to a number of cosmetic and health food labels.
Its healing and recreational allure appealed to kings, queens, and philosophers of the past—such as Aristotle, the Queen of Sheba, King Solomon, Cleopatra, and Herod the Great.
But for those who really want to know what lies beneath the surface… keep reading.
The Dead Sea today
The Dead Sea attracts tourists every day of the year due to its warm temperatures and arid climate. The average temperatures of the region range from about 70 degrees to 105 degrees.
You likely have seen pictures of people floating effortlessly in the water holding a book or magazine. Because of its high salt content, buoyancy is a breeze.
Those specifically with skin disorders, such as psoriasis or aches and pains due to arthritis, have found relief in the Dead Sea waters. Rich minerals in the sea water and mud are believed to hold natural healing properties.
It’s not uncommon to read a cosmetic or skincare product with “Dead Sea minerals” tied into the label. Just like the water, the mud of the Dead Sea has been linked to purifying and illuminating the skin.
Many tourists cover their entire body in the rich soil in hopes for clearer skin plagued by acne, improved elasticity, and an overall glow.
Scientists and researchers, such as those with Dead Sea Moringa, have discovered that the depth of nutrients from the soil transfer into plant life as well. Efforts to harness the mineral elements are underway, to provide incredible nutritional supplements.
In typical farming methods, the soil is used repeatedly, year after year, with no rest—this leads to soil exhaustion. Traditional methods for crop farming deplete both the soil, and the crops, grown in it over time.
For this reason, fruits and vegetables we typically purchase today are not as nutritious as they were generations ago.
As a result, the hunt for rich soil to produce a nutritional crop is on the rise. The Dead Sea has proven to be that mineral-rich soil.
There are three elements supplied by water and air that are essential for plant growth: carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.
The other essential elements needed are supplied to the plant through its root system from the soil. Therefore, the soil health is incredibly important. It provides nearly all of the macronutrients and micronutrients to the plant.
The macronutrients and micronutrients include:
These minerals allow for the growth of the already nutrient-dense moringa tree, to be at peak nutritional capacity.
The Dead Sea’s rich history
The Dead Sea has offered a number of archeological ruins over the years that help us imagine and understand human history.
The Dead Sea’s beauty history
Cleopatra, known for her beauty, spared nothing when it came to a regime that made her skin glow. She reportedly made the “first spa” off the shores of the Dead Sea. She used the waters and mud to rejuvenate and renew her supple skin.
The Dead Sea Scroll discovery
Found in 11 caves nearby the Dead Sea’s western shore between 1947 and 1956, the Dead Sea Scrolls are considered the greatest manuscript discovery of modern times.
The scrolls were divided into biblical and non-biblical manuscripts with 825 to 870 separate scrolls. Parts of every Old Testament book were discovered, except Esther.
These Isaiah Scrolls are 1000 years older than any other known copy of the book. These scrolls are written in Hebrew and Aramaic. Some of the non-biblical text found were prophecies by Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel.
The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls sparked a fascination with both Christians and Jews—enhancing the knowledge of the two by linking the Jewish roots to Christianity.
The Biblical History of the Dead Sea
King David, Jesus, and many others walked the shores and found refuge along the Dead Sea. It is known for being the site of Sodom and Gomorrah as mentioned in the Bible. Today there is a salt formation south of the sea, in route to Eilat, that many are told is Lot’s wife after being turned in to a pillar of salt.
“But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”—Genesis 19:26
The Dead Sea is mentioned several times throughout the Bible. Many cultures and people credit the area to hold keys to the history, and possibly the future, of all humanity.
Joshua led the Israelites across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. God not only parted the Red Sea for Moses, but also the Jordan River—flowing down to the Dead Sea (also known as the Salt Sea)—for Joshua.
Joshua, Chapter 3, reads that the Jordan River was at flood stage, but “…as soon as the priests who carried the ark reached the Jordan and their feed touched the water’s edge, the water from up stream stopped flowing… while the water flowing down to the Sea of Arabah (the Salt Sea) was completely cut off. So the people crossed over opposite of Jericho” (Joshua 3:15-16 – NIV).
Possibly the most exciting and promising aspect of the region is mentioned in Ezekiel. The prophecy of the Dead Sea being renewed and refreshed points us to the magnificent transformation that will take place in our future.
“Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, ‘This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows.
“There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea.’”—Ezekiel 47:6-10 (NIV) [Emphasis added]
The image of the Dead Sea being 25% salt and teaming with life may be hard to fathom. However, we do see many life-giving and sustaining properties coming out of the area today. Therefore, perhaps “a great number of trees” is in fact possible.
It’s no wonder the Dead Sea has such a rich history that still manifests itself today in modern culture through cosmetics, farming, and archeological discoveries. This mysterious land and sea, unlike any other area of the world, will continue to peak the curiosity of people all over the globe.
The common link between it all could, perhaps, be the extraordinary flourishing life connected to the region, despite the sea’s name. Because of the soil’s nutritional profile, plants grown in it are rich in nutrients too.