Is the Red Sea actually red?

Sea bathers at one of Egypt’s Red Sea resorts. / Net photo

For many, especially Christians, the parting of the Red Sea is one of the wonders that God has done. Though this happened thousands of years ago, the story still lives on.

“The Lord said to Moses, why are you crying out for help? Tell the people to move forward. Lift up your walking stick and hold it out over the Red Sea. The water will divide and the Israelites will be able to walk through the sea on dry ground.

“I will make the Egyptians so stubborn that they will go in after them, and I will gain honour by my victory over the king, his army, his chariots, and his drivers.”

This is a widely popular Biblical narrative found in the book of Exodus that Christians easily relate to either from attended Sunday schools or their recent church summons.

In the story, Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave Egypt after God brought the 10th plague on the Egyptians. About 600,000 Israelite men left, as well as women and children. Also, a large number of other people, who had become believers in God, left with the Israelites.

Before they left, however, the Israelites had asked the Egyptians for clothes and for things made of gold and silver. And because the Egyptians were very much afraid because of the last plague, they gave the Israelites everything they asked for.

On their journey to the Promised Land, the Israelites encountered a trial. At some point they had to cross the sea (Red Sea) and had to do it quick since Pharaoh and his men had decided to go after them.

Pharaoh had regretted letting the Israelites go and on changing his mind, he quickly got his war chariot and army ready, and with 600 special chariots, they began to chase after the Israelites.

When the Israelites saw Pharaoh and his army coming after them, they were very afraid for they saw no way they could flee.

But God put a cloud between His people and the Egyptians, so the Egyptians were not able to see the Israelites.

This is when the Lord told Moses to stretch his stick out over the Red Sea and when he did, God caused a strong east wind to blow. The waters of the sea were parted and were held up on both sides letting the Israelites march through the sea on dry ground.

When Pharaoh and his chariots, tried to cross as well, the waters returned into place killing most of the army.

For many Christians, this story serves as a reflection that God delivers on His promises and does things in ways that humans cannot comprehend at times.

So, is the sea really red?

The Red Sea is in fact a dream destination for many. There is an interesting thought, however, why is it called the Red Sea?

Well, this week I travelled to Hurghada, a popular city in Egypt. It is a place where one gets to enjoy the breeze of the Red Sea and the beautiful Sinai mountain– another place that has a unique story for Christians.

I donned my beach wear; hit the sandy beaches of the Red Sea at Nubia Aqua Beach Resort, all with the mission to find out more about the ‘Red Sea’. The waters snarled at me and I kept glaring back, I took photos for memories.

Still, the water wasn’t red like I had hoped it would be. I jumped in and felt a salty taste. When I say salt, I mean real salt. Yes, that is the taste of the Red Sea.

So the Red Sea is not really red. One of the many theories on the origin of the Red Sea’s name is built around the red hues bouncing off the mountains of Sinai and water as the sun rises and sets.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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