A couple of days ago I had the opportunity to head out to the Dead Sea area. There are many things that the Dead Sea is most known for but two of them, at least in biblical circles, are 1) The Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran, which rests beside the sea, and 2) That the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth, contains no types of animals (e.g. fish, snakes, etc.) and in it anything can float. Legend has it that when Lot's wife fled from Sodom & Gomorrah in the Dead Sea region, Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt and this is how the Dead Sea became so salty. King David, when fleeing from Saul, did so to Ein Gedi, another location in the Dead Sea region. The Dead Sea also connects to the Jordan River, where Jesus and many others in antiquity were baptized. Of course, it is also the region which is home to Masada, which I recently wrote about HERE.
In this brief post, I just want to share a few pictures of the Dead Sea region and give some very short descriptions. So, just below are some of the shots I captured while trekking through this beautifully treacherous landscape!
(This is me, taking the obligatory "tourist photo", standing in front of the infamous "Sea Level" sign, just up from the Dead Sea itself. As you can imagine, the trip from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea is one mainly of descent! From here, I will continue downward to the sea, which is below sea level.)
(Here is a snapshot of bedouin life in the Dea Sea region. You can see in the center of the image, a group of sheep and goats being driven up the mountain by their herder. You can see the bedouin camp, which consists of tarps and sheet metal and oh, as you might expect...satellite television!!!)
(This is an image of the mountain slopes all throughout the Dead Sea region. As you can see, it is quite sparse and bare. Pushing through this sort of topography for years on end would have likely been very difficult and strenuous, yet, many of our forebears' in the faith did just that!)
(In this photo you see yet another mountain range. These mountains, however, are where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. Just near the bottom / center of the photo, you can see a cave entrance (one of many). A common misconception among Christians is that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain New Testament documents, which they actually do not. However, they scrolls do cover most of the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible. Even so, understanding some of the Jewish context within and behind these scrolls does help one get a better grip on certain portions of the New Testament.)
(Here, I am on the road heading south of Jerusalem alongside the Dead Sea. As you can see, it was a perfect day for this kind of travel.)
(Just another shot of the beautiful and rugged mountain ranges encircling the Dead Sea.)
(If you look closely, to the top and just left of center, you can see a portion of Masada, the fortress maintained by Herod during the time of Jesus. Masada actually covered the complete top of the mountain as well as a large portion, three levels to be exact, of the northern side of the mount.)
(In this photo, taken from Masada, you can see the interesting mesas just between Masada and the Dead Sea. The mesas are like table-top like natural structures, which are flat on top from being windswept. They are very fun to explore and look at. In the background you can see the Dead Sea and just behind it, the mountains of the country of Jordan.)
(Just one of many shots of the Dead Sea landscape. If you look really close to the bottom and center of the photo you will notice another cave. Throughout history, monks have attempted to spend their lives living in such caves.)
Just below is a very short video of a drive along the Dead Sea.