It’s all about the water…
It is late at night after a second full day of visiting Israel with the Bible Study Tour from Campbell University. What a great experience so far – and how much I have learned.
You see, I’ve spent a lot of my life thinking about Israel and this region in a lot of different ways – historically, culturally, politically, and theologically. And when you have devoted so much of your attention to a place, you really think that you know something about it, right? In a short 48 hours, most of what I thought that I “knew” about this region has been swept aside with a new appreciation (I won’t say knowledge) of its complexity and beauty. I will write more about that as the days pass and even after I return home, because I expect the effects of this journey to unfold over the next months and years in ways that I cannot yet imagine. But right now I want to talk about something I’ve learned these past days, something that I feel like I should have understood (and maybe I did a little) but that I clearly did not…something very important.
You see, it is all about the water. Here, in past history and in the here and now, much that happens is all about the water – the lack of it, the accessibility of it, who controls it, how it is used…It is all about the water.
Yesterday, standing at the headwaters of the Jordan River in the Dan Nature Preserve, standing near the border with Syrian and hearing the story of the Yom Kippur war, walking into the giant cistern at Tel Hazor and today walking down those 183 steps into the cistern and out the spring at Tel Megiddo – I realized the power of water in this region and the power that comes with access to water. At Megiddo, the specially constructed underground reservoir gave the residents access to clean, fresh water no matter what the season, no matter what the battle conditions. In our own era, the acquisition of the Golan Heights gave Israel undisputed control of the water that flows forth from the rocks at Dan and at Banyas (Caesarea Philippi). And with that control comes the bounty of the farms in the Golan Heights and the upper Galilee – the fruit, the wheat, the vineyards (not to mention the banana trees and the mangos).
And yet we in our own country take water for granted. We pollute it, we waste it, we ignore it because it always seems to be there. And yet, that is not the case for most in the world. Just ask my friend Ben Mann at WASHAdvocates. He’ll tell you and your church the full story.
Or come to Israel, and see the power of water in action — see it transform former swamps and deserts into green fields of plenty. And see the results of millennia spent fighting over the control of it.
It is indeed all about the water