An ancient prophecy from the Book of Ezekiel which has mystified Jewish and Christian Bible commentators for centuries is coming to fruition in our times. The Dead Sea, it is foretold, will come to life when water from the Temple in Jerusalem pours in and it will swarm with fish (Ezekiel 47:1-12).
Yet this is seemingly impossible. The water in the Dead Sea has a salt content of around 30 percent, meaning nothing can live in it.
“Nevertheless, this biblical prophecy is being fulfilled before our very eyes!” proclaims Danny Walter as he directs us to hidden fish ponds on the shore of the salt lake.
Walter was born in 1944 in Moshav (agricultural cooperative) Sde Warburg near Tel Aviv. He is a tour guide, naturalist, former paratrooper, private aircraft pilot and author. He is well versed in both the Old and New Testaments and has deep emotional roots in the Land.
But fish ponds in the midst of such barren surroundings? How can these things be?
At the lowest point on earth, on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, the largest freshwater oasis in Israel can be found. A little more than 100 years ago,
Einot Tzukim (also known by its Arabic name, Ein Feshcha) was still completely covered by saltwater from the Dead Sea. The bordering desert land was barren.
Then, at the end of the 19th century, more and more Jews began immigrating to their ancient homeland. As the pioneers diverted water from the Jordan River the Dead Sea began to drop, and this uncovered freshwater sources that had been hidden for centuries. All of a sudden a wide variety of trees and shrubs began to appear upon the parched terrain.
Ezekiel foresaw this 2,600 years ago, promising that sacred, restoring water would stream down from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
“Most of the rain in Israel is brought in by the westerly winds blowing from the Mediterranean,” Walter told Israel Today. “As they approach Jerusalem, which stands at 2,625 feet (800 meters) above sea level, the clouds rise,
cool off and lose their water. Then they sink back down to the Jordan Valley and dry out. This is why in the desert there is virtually no precipitation.”
Jerusalem forms a watershed. The rainwater seeps down and flows underground through various layers of rock toward the Dead Sea. That is how the water is able to reach from the elevated Temple Mount to the shores of the salt lake, over 1,300 feet (400 meters) below sea level. Small freshwater springs emerge, forming cracks in the desert ground which develop into streams and feed the ponds.
But where are the prophesied fish? Walter unlocks the door to a fenced-in area. After a short walk through grass and undergrowth we come upon the first pond lying between the trees. And there they are, swimming around: countless small fish darting about in the clear, warm water. Just a few meters away we find the next pond with fish the size of small carp swimming lazily alongside the bank. We watch with astonishment as Danny beams.
“It is exactly as the prophet Isaiah prophesied!” he exclaims. “‘The desert and the thirsty land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom’” (Isaiah 35:1).