As we descend 1,200 meters from Jerusalem through the wilderness of the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, we pass the Inn of the Good Samaritan and stop briefly at the “sea level” marker. In the distance we see Jericho, the oldest city in the world, perhaps due to its luxuriant oasis and its proximity to the Dead Sea, an ancient source of salt and we recall the conquest of Jericho by the Israelite tribes, led by Joshua, who had just crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land. (Josh 6)
Changing into our swimsuits we head for the Dead Sea. At four hundred meters below sea level this is the lowest place on earth, so low that the cancerous sun rays are filtered out enabling sufferers of such skin ailments as psoriasis to expose their bodies to the sun without worry.
We take the opportunity to cover ourselves with black mud, even our faces and bald spots! As long as two thousand years ago, Queen Cleopatra realised that it was the mud which kept her young and alluring for Mark Anthony!
Finally we enjoy a therapeutic swim in the Dead Sea. The water is almost 35% salt and even those who cannot swim can float.
Tired but feeling and looking years younger we admire the reflection of the mountains of Moab in the still waters of the Dead Sea. Who knows if we will be awake to hear our guide as he show us from roadside the caves of Qumran where the two thousand year old Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered!