It’s really hard to drown in the Dead Sea – not impossible, but hard. The hyper-saline waters have been a tourist attraction for thousands of years. The extreme buoyancy is fun and relaxing for those with the opportunity to enjoy it.
After just a few minutes soaking in the Dead Sea water, though, you realize you need a bath. It’s fun, but not fulfilling. It’s relaxing, but not cleansing.
But it is worse than that. Situated in the middle of a desert, the Dead Sea is a taunt; drinking its water will kill you as surely as having nothing to drink at all.
Ironically, the Dead Sea is fed by the life-giving waters of the Jordan River. Until very recently the Jordan River provided Israel with most of its drinking and irrigation sources. As the water moves from the Sea of Galilee through the desert, it picks up various minerals. The geological features conspire to trap the water and minerals, creating an inland sea hostile to life.
It is a fitting analogy to life as we experience it. Life, which God called good, now runs inevitably to death. It wasn’t supposed to be that way; we were made to live, not die. Death is an unnatural state in the original design of our Creator. In every case, the ultimate cause of death is sin.
Scripture tells us death isn’t permanent, not for the Dead Sea and not for believers. Ezekiel prophesied a day when “swarms of living creatures will live” in the Dead Sea waters.
About halfway between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, and a little to the west, is what in ancient times was Samaria. That’s where Jesus met a woman at a well. As their conversation unfolded, He told her: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Through Jesus we who are dead are offered living water; He cleanses our sin and gives us life eternal. Eventually, through Him, all things in creation will be freed from the “inevitability” of death.
The day is coming when the Dead Sea waters won’t be as buoyant but they will be refreshing. All creation will sing for joy, and life will be everlasting and abundant.