Photos have appeared on social media showing wastewater flowing into the Dead Sea via the Kidron Valley and though the issue is of serious ecological concern, the battle to bring the prophetic vision of a sea of life is not entirely lost.
At least some of the problem is due to the political turmoil that divides the Arabs and the Jews who live in the region. The Palestinian Authority is responsible for much of the region and there are countless cases in which the PA ignores, or even seems to encourage ecologically irresponsible behavior. Some of this dilemma is due to the PA deprioritizing infrastructure and favoring other agendas. Approximately 150,000 homes are not connected to a sewage system and it was estimated that 8 million gallons of sewage flow into the Dead Sea.
מישהו שופך ביוב לים המלח!!
כמה חודשים שבהם לא זרם ביוב לים המלח איפשרו לי להביא לחוף הקסום הזה מטיילים שאפילו טרחו וניקו…
Posted by Netanel Schlesinger on Sunday, April 11, 2021
For the prophetically-minded, this situation is doubly distressing as it is not only an ecological desecration of the Promised land, but it also seems to be pushing away Ezekiel’s vision of a thriving sea full of life, fed by streams of living water flowing from Jerusalem.
“This water,” he told me, “runs out to the eastern region, and flows into the Arabah; and when it comes into the sea, into the sea of foul waters, the water will become wholesome. Every living creature that swarms will be able to live wherever this stream goes; the fish will be very abundant once these waters have reached there. It will be wholesome, and everything will live wherever this stream goes. Fishermen shall stand beside it all the way from Ein Gedi to En-eglaim; it shall be a place for drying nets; and the fish will be of various kinds [and] most plentiful, like the fish of the Great Sea. Ezekiel 47:8-10
Though it may seem grim with the powers of darkness threatening to be victorious in their battle to turn the Dead Sea into “the sea of foul waters”, Noam Bedein of the Dead Sea Revival Project, assured Israel365 News that the prophecy of the sea becoming a vibrant source of life is closer than most people think.’
“The sewage flowing into the Kidron was a problem, it got fixed, but it has once again become a problem,” Bedein said. “But there is no doubt that the Dead sea is coming to life, as is the Judean Desert.”
Today, the Dead Sea is, as its name implies, appears to be dead. More than 400 meters below sea level, it is the lowest point on dry land. Almost ten times saltier than the ocean, and its shores are coated with a thick layer of salt that kills any plant. Nothing can live in the Dead Sea’s hypersaline environment – or so scientists thought until recently. Scientific research has proved the existence of life at the bottom of the sea.
Referred to in Hebrew and in the Bible as Yam Ha’Melach (sea of salt), the Bible describes the area alternatively as both vibrant and barren. Lot looked out on the valley where the Dead Sea is now and saw an incredibly fertile and well-watered region.
And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before Hashem destroyed Sdom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Hashem. Genesis 13:10
The Bible relates that the landscape changed when the fire and brimstone destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah turned the valley into a wasteland. Indeed, people who visit the Dead Sea today would find it difficult to envision a garden in the arid region.
This dichotomy is what exists today with both possibilities imminent.
“On one hand, the Dead Sea is threatened by its waters receding,” Bedein warned. “It is in danger of being drastically transformed with corresponding environmental damage.”
The water level at the Dead Sea has been receding at the fantastic rate of up to one meter every year. This is due to water being diverted from the Jordan River for agricultural purposes and evaporation caused by the Dead Sea mineral works.
“Just look at the satellite images,” Bedein said. “It’s not a sea, it’s a pool of salt that’s left over. If we don’t do something now, the next generation is not going to have a Dead Sea. By the year 2050, there will be a pool of salt.”
But Bedein is equally optimistic.
“On the other hand, where it is receding, life is emerging in many forms,” Bedein said, referring to Einot Tzukim, a nature reserve on the shores of the Dead Sea near Qumran that he described as “the Dead Sea Jungle.”
“The Dead Sea shore is dotted with sinkholes that fill with fresh or brackish water. Some also fill up with fish. Literally on the shores of the Dead Sea is the biggest nature reserve in Israel with freshwater full of fish flowing at your feet. Scientists have determined that these sinkholes are fed from underground sources that flow from sources in the Jerusalem hills and from as far away as Hebron.”
Bedein explained that this reality was described by the Prophet Joel:
And in that day, The mountains shall drip with wine, The hills shall flow with milk, And all the watercourses of Yehuda shall flow with water; A spring shall issue from the House of Hashem And shall water the Wadi of the Acacias. Joel 4:18
Fresh water at the Dead Sea is a clear example of how the prophets were able to see things that remained hidden from scientists for thousands of years. The Dead Sea has other sources as well. In 2011, a team of researchers from Ben Gurion University in the Negev sent divers to the floor of the Dead Sea. This endeavor posed serious technical difficulties as the super-saline environment renders regular scuba gear inoperable. It was the first time such a dive had ever been made, and what they discovered was astounding.
The researchers discovered huge craters on the seafloor, 15 meters across and 20 meters deep. Freshwater was flowing from these craters, which were carpeted with mats of microorganisms, showing that the Dead sea was not entirely dead. The beginnings of the prophecy are in place, waiting to spring forth.
Bedein has joined with Jaky Ben Zaken, whose company, Salty Landscapes, runs boat trips on the Dead Sea for tourists and researchers, in documenting chimneys that bring fresh water to the surface of the Dead Sea.
“These geophysical chimneys that you see, we found them years ago by accident,” said Ben Zaken. “We were doing another research and found that there are fresh water springs coming up from under the sea, and these salt chimneys form around them with fresh water coming up the inside.”
“We are really at a fork in the road so far as prophecy and this is clearly evident at the Dead Sea,” Bedein said. “It is bringing together the religious, anyone who reads the Bible, who are fascinated by the prophecy manifesting itself. It is also pulling in the scientific community who are just beginning to realize how much they need to learn about this very special place. And it is also bringing in the environmentally-minded who want to save this very special ecosystem.”