Israel - Its concentrated anhydrous chlorides and asphalt discharges were the stuff of legend in ancient Egyptian pickling recipes to mummify the dead, as chronicled in the Dead Sea Scrolls.
This week a survey of the world's deepest hypersaline lake says persistent drought may see the Dead Sea dry up altogether to reveal what bibliomancy nutz have long suspected: the preserved remains of Jesus, Mary and Joseph concealed some 1,300ft below sea level.
Flanked by fortresses and Old Testament palaces such as Masada and Machaerus the inland sea was a favorite vacation spot of the Redeemer's arch enemy and contemporary King Herod the Great.
The old despot was notorious for getting personalised spa treatments at his luxurious castle complex on the Dead Sea's south-western shore in the Mount Sodom area, just south of Lash-on.
During the Second Temple period an extract called 'Sodomite salt' became an essential mineral in the temple's holy incense, something that clearly puzzled the region's Roman conquerors.
Indeed, contemporary Roman author/naturalist/natural philosopher Gaius Plinius Secundus - or Pliny the Elder, as he is better known - marvelled at the waters' rejuvenation properties enjoyed by Herod.
Likened by scholars to an ancient Roman 'David Attenborough' kind of pundit his seminal tome Naturalis Hysteria commented on Herodian usage of the waters' minerals in the preparation of royal cosmetics and herbal sachets.
Some of the plant extracts apparently came from nearby the Dead Sea basin extension, he said, in the Great Spliff - er...Riff! - Valley.
Indeed, centuries later British Museum tests on mummified remains excavated from the Masada compound perimeter found asphalt coated and bitumen coated figurines and Neolithic skulls that contained traces of soporific combustible substances.
"Verily I say unto you, my Liege, that Herod the Great was a stoner," Pliny the Elder wrote to his chum Emperor Vespasian.
Which may explain significant periods of 'missing time' recorded by the Roman Legion bivouacked in the region, some of whose soldiers asked to be paid in local weed instead of the customary bags of 'salarium' salt.
The odds for finding the holy graves have now shortened to 1,000-1.