Lake Lisan, the late Pleistocene precursor of the Dead Sea, existed from ∼70,000 to 15,000 yr B.P. It evolved through frequent water-level fluctuations, which reflected the regional hydrological and climatic conditions. We determined the water level of the lake for the time interval ∼55,000–15,000 cal yr B.P. by mapping offshore, nearshore, and fan-delta sediments; by application of sequence stratigraphy methods; and by dating with radiocarbon and U-series methods. During the studied time interval the lake-level fluctuated between ∼340 and 160 m below mean sea level (msl). Between 55,000 and 30,000 cal yr B.P. the lake evolved through short-term fluctuations around 280–290 m below msl, punctuated (at 48,000–43,000 cal yr B.P.) by a drop event to at least 340 m below msl. At ∼27,000 cal yr B.P. the lake began to rise sharply, reaching its maximum elevation of about 164 m below msl between 26,000 and 23,000 cal yr B.P., then it began dropping and reached 300 m below msl at ∼15,000 cal yr B.P. During the Holocene the lake, corresponding to the present Dead Sea, stabilized at ca. 400 m below msl with minor fluctuations. The hypsometric curve of the basin indicates that large changes in lake area are expected at above 403 and 385 m below msl. At these elevations the lake level is buffered. Lake Lisan was always higher than 380 m below msl, indicating a significantly large water contribution to the basin. The long and repetitious periods of stabilization at 280–290 m below msl during Lake Lisan time indicate hydrological control combined with the existence of a physical sill at this elevation. Crossing this sill could not have been achieved without a dramatic increase in the total water input to the lake, as occurred during the fast and intense lake rise from ∼280 to 160 m below msl at ∼27,000 cal yr B.P.