5
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Near a faith's top spots, I'm not quite a sea;
I contain water more seasoned than shchi.
As you jump in, you will float like a flea.
A basketball goat wanders right into me.

Forced into working, and greater I grew.
Yet even more so when locked in a zoo.
A big city's namesake, that should prove a clue.
I'm far from the Near East, and far from dead too.

What am I?

Yes, shchi is a word.

Hint:

The answer is the name of a lake.

Hint #2:

Lines 5-6 refer to ways of deriving the names of two even bigger lakes.

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  • $\begingroup$ Can we have another hint? The second part is really tricky $\endgroup$ – Kaspar Scherrer Aug 29 '18 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ @Cashbee Added a hint. $\endgroup$ – jafe Aug 29 '18 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ @jafe I love your geography riddles! :D This one was really well-constructed! $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 29 '18 at 18:57
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Are you

Great Salt Lake?

Near a faith's top spots, I'm not quite a sea;

The Mormon faith is centred in Utah, as is Great Salt Lake. It's a big lake - the 33rd largest in the world by area.

I contain water more seasoned than shchi.

It's salty water, and has been called "America's Dead Sea".

As you jump in, you will float like a flea.

Because it's salty, swimming in the lake is similar to floating.

A basketball goat wanders right into me.

The Jordan River in Utah flows into it.

Forced into working, and greater I grew.

When you're forced into working you become a SLAVE. This is a reference to the similarly named Great Slave Lake, in NWT, Canada - bigger than Great Salt Lake as the tenth largest lake in the world.

Yet even more so when locked in a zoo.

One animal that's locked in a zoo is a BEAR. This is a reference to the also similarly named Great Bear Lake, in NWT, Canada. It's the largest lake entirely in Canada, and is even bigger than Great Slave Lake as the eighth largest lake in the world.

A big city's namesake, that should prove a clue.

It's the namesake of Salt Lake City, Utah.

I'm far from the Near East, and far from dead too.

It's in the US, and it isn't the Dead Sea.

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  • $\begingroup$ The answer's correct, but the explanation for lines 5-6 is actually a bit more simple. I have added a hint. $\endgroup$ – jafe Aug 30 '18 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ OOH Canadian reference! Sweeeeet @jafe $\endgroup$ – El-Guest Aug 30 '18 at 12:20
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Partial:

Dead sea matches the first 4 lines but I have no clue how to match the second part.

Near a faith's top spots, I'm not quite a sea;

It's near Jerusalem and it's a lake, not a sea

I contain water more seasoned than shchi.

It's very salty, more than the sauerkraut based shchi soup

As you jump in, you will float like a flea.

Allegedly you can walk on it

A basketball goat wanders right into me.

Jordan is on the east of the lake and Michael Jordan is a basketball Greatest Of All Times (GOAT)

Forced into working, and greater I grew.
Yet even more so when locked in a zoo.
A big city's namesake, that should prove a clue.

Salt Lake City mabye?

I'm far from the Near East, and far from dead too.

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I really doubt it's correct, but I have a partial answer for the second half.

ork

Forced into working, and greater I grew.

"working" contains "ork"

Yet even more so when locked in a zoo.

an ork will grow fast with a walking feast around him

A big city's namesake, that should prove a clue.

York / New York

I'm far from the Near East, and far from dead too.

Orks are not native to the Near East (or any non-fictional place) but they aren't dead since they never really lived (they're fictional after all)

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0
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I personally believe that El-Guest has the correct answer above; I would like to throw in another possible answer; though it doesn't meet all lines.

Mono Lake in Mono County - California

Near a faith's top spots, I'm not quite a sea;

Couldn't really find an answer for faith here; but it is a lake.

I contain water more seasoned than shchi.

It is a saline soda lake.

As you jump in, you will float like a flea.

As El-Guest stated, this is due to the salt in the water.

A basketball goat wanders right into me.

Basketball Goat could be referring to Earl Manigault (his nickname was literally The Goat) who was a big influence on Kareem Abdul-Jabbar of the LA Lakers. However, I like rhsquared's response to this and agree that this refers to Michael Jordan.

A big city's namesake, that should prove a clue.

Mono is a county in California, not a city so it doesn't truly fit here.

I'm far from the Near East, and far from dead too.

It's located in the United States, and it supports aquatic life. Also, as El-Guest stated, it is not the Dead Sea.

Note: If you downvote, please leave an explanation as to how I can improve my post. I only added this answer because it was interesting.

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