We visited the area north of the Sea of Galilee today. Gentle rain was still falling when I first looked out at the Sea of Galilee this morning. By the time we reached Hazor the weather had cleared and we had a bright and sunny visit. A light rain fell at Dan, but at Caesarea Philippi there was a downpour like I have never seen during one of my tours.
After lunch there was clearing and we returned to the site for a more complete visit.
The right amount of rain is a wonderful blessing from the LORD. He promised His people that he would send the early rains and the late rain. The late rain comes about this time of year, and we are expecting more the next two days.
“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. “He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. (Deuteronomy 11:13-15 NAU)
The rain is a good thing to help correct a long-term drought that has afflicted Israel in recent years. Nowhere have we seen this more clearly than at the Sea of Galilee.
Here is a photo I made yesterday at Nof Ginosaur in the Biblical Gennesaret (Matthew 14:34). I walked out to the end of the pier that has been built to allow boats to drop off passengers.
Sea of Galilee at Nof Ginosaur, April 18, 2913. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins
And here is the same area in September, 2012.
The Sea of Galilee at Nof Ginosar, September, 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Kinneret Bot reports for April 18 that the Sea of Galilee is –209.94 meters below sea level. Americans typically translate that as –688.78 feet. A year ago the level was –693.44 feet (211.36 meters) bsl.
Travel in Egypt is sometimes hindered by small amounts of rain. In flat areas such as the delta an inch of rain can flood the area and make automobile travel impossible, or at least impractical. In early March, 2005, Elizabeth and I had remained in Egypt for a few days after the tour group returned home. We planned one day to go to Goshen. That morning when we looked from the hotel window in Heliopolis we observed rain. The guide scheduled to go with us on the excursion arrived, but explained that we would not be able to go due to the 1/2 to 1 inch of rain that had fallen during the night. The annual rainfall in the Cairo area is 1 1/2 to 2 inches. In Upper Egypt years may pass with no rainfall.
Rain in Cairo - March 9, 2005. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Egypt is less prepared for an inch of rain than many southern USA cities are for an inch of snow.
On another excursion we went to Jebel Musa, the traditional Mount Sinai, in the Sinai Peninsula. As we traveled through the Wadi el-Tor (el-Tur or al-Tur) shortly before arriving at Feiran, I noted that there had been a flash flood in the wadi. Our guide explained that this typically happened at least once each winter. He said that the asphalt paved road could be washed out by less than an inch of rain.
Wadi el Tor in the Sinai Peninsula after a flash flood. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Rocks polished by the winter flood were strewn across the wadi. These stones show the different rocks found in the Sinai. The red stones indicate iron. The green is copper. The black is basalt, indicating a volcanic area.
Rocks in Wadi el Tor of the Sinai Peninsula. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.
Let us recall that the normally dry wilderness (midbar, desert) once flowed with water for the Israelites.
“He led you through the great and terrible wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water; He brought water for you out of the rock of flint. (Deuteronomy 8:15 NAU)
He split the rocks in the wilderness And gave them abundant drink like the ocean depths. (Psalm 78:15 NAU)