And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray you, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord sees: but the water is bad, and the ground barren.
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George Leo Haydock
Barren, owing to the salt or bituminous waters. Some think that they were muddy and of a loathsome smell. The fountain is still to be seen very abundant and excellent, watering the plain on the west of the city. Its source is about two miles distant on the road to Jerusalem. (Maundrell, p. 134.) (Calmet)
Other parts of the environs were very fertile. (Menochius)