Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Importance of Water

Most Americans have a rather vague understanding regarding the importance of water in the Middle East. That's because we tend to view water as something that comes out of a tap. It's always there, and we don't often think about where it comes from. We just expect it to be available. But in the Middle East water is a far more precious--and uncertain--commodity.

And that's why God stressed the connection between water and His covenant relationship to His people. Watch how the connection develops in Deuteronomy 8:10-17.

For the land, into which you are entering to possess it, is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, where you used to sow your seed and water it with your foot like a vegetable garden. But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year. And it shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the LORD your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that He will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. And He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you shall eat and be satisfied. Beware, lest your hearts be deceived and you turn away and serve other gods and worship them. Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.

God placed Israel in a land of marginal rainfall, and He used that land as a testing ground to teach His people life-lessons about faith, trust, obedience, and the consequences of actions. I was reminded of all this while reading an article in today's Jerusalem Post--"Lack of winter rains even worse than predicted." This November the Sea of Galilee received less water than it has for the past 80 years. And forecasters are predicting a dry December as well.

The Jerusalem Post writer sees the ultimate solution to Israel's water problem in desalination plants that will turn sea water into fresh water. Sadly, he implies that human ability will help eliminate our need to depend on God. "By taking the full burden of providing water away from Divine will, it should provide a buffer to enable the natural reservoirs to gradually replenish."

Desalination might appear to be a good option for Israel, but such plants will be tempting targets for the country's enemies. Ultimately, Israel needs to depend on God to supply the rain from heaven...and to protect them against those seeking their harm.

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