Updated: Nov 8, 2021
"I woke up last night to the sound of thunder," writes Bob Seger in his 70's hit, Night Moves. That was me last night. The lightning lit up the apartment we are in at 3 AM. As I went back to bed, I opened the windows, so I could hear the rain. There's nothing like the sound of rain in Israel in October.
Growing up in America on the East Coast, it could rain on any day of the year. Israel is quite different. The Bible speaks about the former rains in the latter rains. The former rains come in October and November, and the latter rains come at the beginning of spring. Rain is often compared to the outpouring of the Spirit in the Bible.
"For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams." Isaiah 44:3-4
After the latter rains, it does not rain for about six months. This dryness is often compared to a spiritual wilderness.
You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water. (Ps. 63:1)
Ancient Israelites had no trouble understanding these metaphors. It was their life. One of the things that the ancient Israelites, and religious Jews today, prayed for during the feast of tabernacles—which comes just before the rainy season—would be for strong rains.
When I moved here, I did not know all that. As I went through my first summer here, I had not noticed that it was sunny every single day. I had not realized that I hadn't seen rain for many months. Then one day in late September, ever so briefly, the rain came down. Even though I had not noticed the lack of rain, I got emotional and teared up. It was like seeing a friend you hadn't seen for many years but never really noticed he was gone.
When the kids came home from school, they told me how their teachers let them out of class to jump around in the first shower. In September, we may or may not have one of these showers come up, but the heavy rains don't come until the end of October and November.
I heard a famous preacher about 20 years ago, you would all know his name, preach on Matthew 5:45, "He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."
He preceded to explain that sometimes good things happen like the sun rising, and sometimes bad things happen like it rains. That is the very American way of reading the verse, but no one in the Middle East would see it that way. Another reason why it is so important to read the Bible in context. Yeshua's point here is that God blesses both the righteous and the wicked.
In the Middle East, rain is not merely a blessing; it is an existential necessity.
Back in the early 2000s, there were campaigns exhorting people to save water. Yisrael mityaveshet was seen all over the country—Israel is drying up. They would superimpose the dry desert land over the face of someone. However, things have changed dramatically since then. At that time, you would never see someone washing their car with a running hose! NEVER!
Thanks to Israeli technology, we have come up with two ways to save water. One is that we recycle it! That's right, we take sewage water and salvage it! Don't worry, if you come on one of our tours, I can promise you that the water coming out of your sink in the hotel is not former sewage water. The recycled water is used only for agriculture, and we lead the world and the amount of water that we reclaim for such purposes.
The other thing we do is desalination. That is the process of taking saltwater, what Israelis referred to as bitter water (freshwater is called sweet water) and taking the salt out. Presently 80% of our drinking water is saltwater that has been desalinated. The goal is 100%! Who invented the technology? An Israeli, of course.
"More than 60 years ago, after listening to a lecture from an Arctic explorer who explained that he obtained drinking water from melted ice, an Israeli engineer named Alexander Zarchin created a groundbreaking thermal desalination process."
Another great Israeli inventions is Watergen
Watergen is an Israeli invention that creates water out of thin air – literally. It takes the humidity from the air, purifies it, and wallah! Fresh water. Can you imagine? It is literally miraculous and magical! For countries lacking clean water, this invention is a lifesaver. And even for countries WITH clean water, this innovation is so useful as it just uses AIR! And now, Watergen has come to America, creating many jobs in the United States. It also adds to the already strong friendship between Israel and America.
When I boast that it was an Israeli who invented it, please don't misunderstand me. I do not think that there is some racial advantage in being Jewish. This is the blessing of God, who called this nation to be a light to the world. Obviously, the greatest fulfillment of that is in the Messiah. But this anointing to bless other nations is one of the main reasons the Arab nations have been recently lining up to make peace with us. They want our technology.
For many years I wondered why God had not blessed us with oil like he has our neighbors. Then I read one of the best books I have ever read, No Room for Small Dreams. Former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres didn't lament that Israel had no oil. He understood that such resources make humans lazy. This is why many of our neighbors here in the Middle East do not excel in math and science or education in general. They mostly rely on oil.
"So facing the absolute nothingness, we looked for a way out, and we discovered that one resource is still available. The human capital, the human resource. We found that people can contribute more to the land than the land can contribute to the people."
Eventually, a nation runs out of oil, but they never run out of people. Israel was forced to invest in its most important natural resource, one that Hitler had sought to extinguish: Its citizens.
Because of this technology, we can export 50 million cubits of water to our former enemy Jordan. God is using Israel to bless those who once wanted to destroy us. Now that is irony!