I wanted to reflect on a second part of our trip to Israel we took two weeks ago, an excursion down to the lowest spot on earth. One evening we escaped Jerusalem, traveled through the West Bank and headed south. As we were driving I noticed painted lines on the rocks around the highway, each labeled with the phrase “Sea level.” As our car gradually descended we were slowly moving further below the sea.
The main mission of the trip was to go swimming. First in the mountain springs of the moon-like landscape which makes up the Negev desert in a place called Ein Gedi and then in the Dead Sea.
For those of you who haven’t swam in this ancient ocean, it is basically like floating in salty vegetable oil. People come here to swim in the water because they believe they believe it has therapeutic qualities. All I know is that if you stay in the water long enough your orifices begin to tingle and then sting like a razor. I am not sure if it was the actual salt water or the cathartic pain that came from swimming in it, but after the pain subsided I felt damn good
The pleasantness of a mountain spring dip, followed by and contrasted with the bizarre nature of swimming in a body of water in which you cannot sink. It was a good day.
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