Do you remember the story in the Bible about how fire and brimstone rained down on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, destroying everything by a consuming fire? Amazingly enough, the results of this miraculous miracle, still remain in Israel to this day, staying true to the original scriptures. It is quite the story and if you don’t remember or have never heard about this story, you can read about it in Genesis Chapter 19.
Gomorrah is located south of Jerusalem on the desert plains next to the Dead Sea and below the great ancient city of Masada. It’s not a tourist attraction and if you ask a local how to get there, chances are they won’t know what you’re talking about. The only way you can really get there is by car because it’s off the beaten path and not many people go there. However, if you do happen to get the chance to experience this truly astonishing place, it will be one for the story books.
As you can see from the photos, the whole area looks like there was once a city standing in this very spot. The giant mounds of dirt look like the shapes of ancient buildings that were once magnificent pillars in a great city. But pictures are deceiving and those giant mounds of dirt are actually huge mounds of ash and sulfur piled up after the city was consumed by fire. It’s not like your average desert sand and to give you an idea of what I am talking about, imagine having a campfire burning all day. Once the fire goes out and it cools down, you are left with black and grey ash from everything you threw into the fire. Now if you were to take that ash and rub it in your hands, it’s exactly how the grounds of Gomorrah and the cities of the plain feel on your skin, but only on a mass scale. Since it’s indeed ash and not dirt, I advise you to be selective with the outfit you choose to wear because just like stepping into a fire pit full of ash, your clothes and shoes could be ruined.
Also, not one plant can be found here and again it’s because the high concentration of sulfur throughout the area. Yahweh said in Genesis chapter 19, that not one thing would grow in this area and the land would be a desolation until the end to time. Could this be the explanation? Nobody knows and I’m only stating the facts, so you can form your own opinion from the photos, as I have already made mine. It’s also really interesting to note that since this area is on lip of the Dead Sea, was it at this same time the Dead Sea was formed as well? You can find out more about the Dead Sea from my previous post, “A Sea of Baby Oil.”
One of my favorite things to do here, besides meditating on the unique landscape, is to go hunting for sulfur balls. They are extremely easy to find because they are scattered all throughout the area, you just have to do a little bit of digging. Although rare, in the past I have found sulfur balls as big as softballs and I’m positive it’s possible to find even bigger ones. It’s also fun to light them on fire to confirm that they are indeed sulfur balls, but the smell is terrible and probably toxic, so take caution when doing so. Taking a few of them home with you is a great testimony and witness to your friends and family, but be aware that since sulfur is highly flammable you could get them confiscated at the airport if they ask you what they are. I think the best option is to wrap them tight in something and put it in your check in luggage.
Since Gomorrah is not really on the map and only appears as a desert wilderness in the middle of nowhere in Southern Israel, the possibilities of finding something is indefinite because no one really knows what exactly is buried within this forgotten place. There might be some buried treasures there, unlocking the mysteries of this thought provoking area, or maybe it’s exactly what it seems, an ancient city laying in ash ruins. Whatever may be the case, if you ever get the chance to visit Gomorrah, once again your Bible will come alive and you’ll never read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah the same.
If you have any questions or would like to share your own experience of the Gomorrah, I encourage you to please leave a comment below.
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