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Early Rains

Early Rains Are Here!

Early Rains Are Here!

Every year, I tend to become more and more fascinated by the weather in Israel. In the fall, I begin looking to the digital sky and watch as the early rains begin to fall. Over the past several years, Israel has been experiencing a drought. This is evident not only in the data, but also walking around the land.

The water level in the Sea of Galilee has dropped several feet in the past several year. Places along the shoreline where I have taken my tour groups to board boats are no longer accessible. The water level is just too shallow for a boat to dock in those locations. In addition, as you visit different areas along the shore, more and more of the land is visible. This is especially evident along the northwest corner of the lake as there are many visual markers that show this fact with clarity.

But….good news…the rains have arrived. This morning, I took three screenshots from web cameras that are located in the northern part of the land. The first picture is from the city of Sefad, which sits a couple of miles north of the Sea of Galilee. On a normal day, you would be able to see part of the lake from this image. But, not today.

The second image is from the top of Mount Bental, about 50 miles north of the Sea of Galilee. Again, you will see that it is a rainy day. It is not uncommon to see visitors and families eating picnic lunches from this vantage point.

Finally, this picture is from Merom Golan, which is very near Mount Bental. Again, rain everywhere.

To me, these are beautiful views. These rains will fall through the Hula Valley and into the Jordan River. From there, they will flow into the Sea of Galilee and offset the water shortages that currently exist. In addition, they will make the land nice and green for us to see later next year.

“And if you will indeed obey my commandments that I command you today, to love the Lord your God, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul, he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil. And he will give grass in your fields for your livestock, and you shall eat and be full.” - Deuteronomy 11:13-15

Early and Latter Rains

Early and Latter Rains

With a degree in Meteorology, I have a special interest in the weather. And, when it comes to the Bible, I pay particular interest to references to weather. In a few different instances, the writers of the Bible use the term "early and latter rains". Some examples include:

They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the Lord our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.” - Jeremiah 5:24

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. - James 5:7

Contrary to popular belief, Israel actually receives a lot of rain every year. Admittedly, there are areas of the country where it is pretty dry (Jordan Rift Valley, Negeb, etc). But much of the land is very blessed by rain. 

The rain, however, falls in an interesting pattern. Every year, the rains start in late October and then continue until mid-May. This phenomenon is what the Biblical writers are referring to when they mention the early rains (October) and the latter rains (May). 

Since it is January, we are currently in the middle of the rainy season. The rains that fall right now help nourish the land for the rest of the year. Last week, Israel had an unusually rainy day. Many locations of the Galilee received nearly four inches of rain in one day. It was so much rain, that the water level of the Sea of Galilee rose three centimeters that same day. The Times of Israel had a very interesting story about it on their website.

Just as He did centuries ago, God is still ensuring that the land is properly watered. 

Filled Wadis

A few days ago, Ferrell Jenkins wrote a post about the flooding that was taking place in the area of Qumran. These floods are the results of some strong winter storms that the country is experiencing right now. Heavy rains that fall in the Central Mountain Range quickly collect and overflow the dry river beds (wadis). Yesterday, Israel National News posted a video on YouTube of some of the filled wadis from the recent rain. (If you notice, they entitled this video "Blessed Rain of Israel". These type of rains are not a problem. They are a blessing.)

As you read the Bible, you'll notice that travelers of this land knew when to travel and where to travel. They understood the land and knew what could happen quickly during different times of the year.