Our group was in Tiberias, and from afar we saw the tomb of Rabbi Meir the Miracle Worker.
(This is another instance of a "holy industry" that grows up around a holyman's tomb, as we saw in the post about Honi the Circle Drawer.)
At the base of Rabbi Meir's hill is an official park, Hamat Teverya National Park.
It is just across the street from the Sea of Galilee.
Hamat's hot springs have been in continuous use since ancient times.
Some 2,000 meters below the surface are 17 highly saline hot springs long renowned for their healing qualities.
The water can reach 60 degrees C or 140 F.
In the photo above you can see the steam escaping through steam chimneys.
Steam also was coming from this opening and water was flowing from the black pipe.
The water is cleaned and cooled to 33-40 C and then channeled north a bit, to the modern spas of Tiberias.
After use in the baths, the water is conducted to a Mekorot Water Company facility within the national park and from there to a channel that conveys it to the Jordan River south of the Sea of Galilee.
I noticed Mekorot was building something new there last week.
The worker bending rebar, and the black basalt ancient wall behind him, made me wonder which would last for more centuries--the metal or the stone.
Legend has it that when the sick begged King Solomon to find a cure for their ailments, the King ordered legions of demons to go down deep underground near the shore of the Sea of Galilee and heat the springs.
He then struck them deaf so they would never hear of his death and stop heating the springs.
And so the demons carry out his command to this very day.
Today, March 22, is U.N. World Water Day, although they concentrate on fresh water.