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Living Water and Dead Seas

May 11, 2009


Monday, 2:01 PM local time


After leaving Masada, we made a quick stop at En Gedi. Miriam’s article on En Gedi is very informative, and I encourage you to take a look. In brief, En Gedi is the place where King Saul fell asleep while hunting David; David crept close enough to the king in his slumber to cut off a piece of cloak. When Saul awoke and saw what David had done, he asked why David hadn’t killed him – and David answered that he would never kill an anointed servant of God.

If that story really happened, David chose an excellent place to hide. While we didn’t stay long enough to see or explore any of the caves, we did see more than a few waterfalls, surrounded by lush vegetation on the banks of the stream they feed – which, in the Negev and after the barrenness of Masada, is quite a sight to behold.

Some of the group stayed at the first waterfall to swim and enjoy the cool water, but a few of us ventured on and found the treasure of En Gedi: Mafal David, David’s waterfall. By Amazonian standards, it’s not much, just a narrow, but powerful, stream of water flowing down about 20 meters of rock into a short pool which trickles down to feed the lesser waterfalls underneath, like the one under which the rest of the group swam. The vines and hanging moss around David’s waterfall are the greenest things I’ve yet seen in Israel.

Semaj asked where the water for the fall came from, and Gordon responded, rather unexpectedly, that it was the rocks that fed the waterfall. The caves and hills of En Gedi contain natural limestone, which drips water. Enough of the water gathers inside the narrow fissures of the rock that it continuously gushes out of the side of the hill. Amazing, to see a rock giving water – I understand Moses, a bit.

We ate lunch on the bank of the Dead Sea, with the mountains of Jordan not far in the distance. Nobody warned us to wait 45 minutes after eating, with good reason – you float like a duck in the Dead Sea.

It’s a little weird.

Floating in the Dead Sea is like having a constant flotation device underneath you. You step in the water, fall back the slightest bit, and your feet are immediately raised to the level of your head. You can’t sink. You also can’t swim; your feet float so high, no matter your position, that you can’t get enough traction to perform any of the traditional strokes. So I made a new one, the bicycle – Michael Phelps + Lance Armstrong = win!

And continuing on.

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