"…For the waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water… there shall be grass with reeds and rushes." Isaiah 35:6-7 (NKJV)
EIN GEDI, Israel For thousands of years there hasn't been much to see as one travels along the shores of the Dead Seaa mineral-laden body of water on one side and the most desolate mountainous desert on the other.
There is an obvious reason why it is called the "Dead" Sea. Nothing lives in it. Nothing grows near it. At more than 1,300 feet below sea level, the surface of the Dead Sea is the lowest point on the earth. The saline concentration is almost six times that of the ocean.
But in recent years, life is beginning to spring from the barren shores of the Dead Sea.
As the surface of the 250-square-mile sea has been receding, large sinkholes have appeared along the newly exposed shoreline. Many of these sinkholes are filled with fresh water coming from underground springs that have surfaced after dissolving the heavy concentration of minerals in the soil causing the ground to cave in. Around these new pools grow acres of green grasses and reeds.
Experts say that since the 1970s, the sea level has been dropping as much three feet a year, and the overall size of the Dead Sea has been reduced by more than a third. The cause has been related to several issues, including the declining amount of water coming from its main source of the Jordan River, the diversion of other springs for irrigation and drinking water, and the controlled evaporation of the sea water for commercial production of chemical and botanical products.