Sabbatical in Jerusalem 2003 ~ Streams in the Desert
After a couple years non-stop traveling and teaching – including one round-the-world adventure – Dwight and I were ready for a Sabbatical rest in our beloved Jerusalem. Arriving as we did, at the end of the long, dry summer, we were amazed at the amount of dust covering almost everything and were distressed at the amount of litter strewn almost everywhere! Once one lifted one’s eyes, however, (physically and spiritually) the unique beauty of this city was still there: the glow of the Jerusalem stone, the colorful splashes of flowers – roses, bougainvillea, geraniums, and many more – and the glorious sky with its light that seems to fall differently on this land than anywhere else.
We certainly could identify with the declaration we heard all about us: “We need rain!”
We joined our prayer to this heart’s cry as the lack of rain had brought the water shortage to a crisis level. So, once again, a needy people could only turn their minds and hearts to the One Who promised, “If you pay heed to the commandments I give you this day, to love the Lord your God, and to serve Him with all your heart and soul, then I will give the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late rain…” (Deuteronomy 11: 13,14).
And then…the first showers arrived! For those who live in areas of abundant rainfall and lush vegetation it must be difficult to imagine the exultation that springs up as one experiences the first rains of the season here in Israel. We awoke on Monday, 22 October, to cloudy skies and a vista washed with rain and even a few big puddles in the parking lot! Baruch HaShem! Praise His Name! In His mercy we prayed it would continue in abundance during the winter to come. The freshness and “newness” encompassing everything after the rain is a reminder of our hope in the Giver of rain and of life. What hope we have in the promise that when the King of Righteousness reigns, “…each man will be like… streams of water in the desert, and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land” (Isaiah 32:2).
The warfare and attacks we see engulfing the world are, we believe, a reflection of a raging spiritual battle – all centered upon the God of Israel, His Land, and the city where He has chosen to place His Name, Jerusalem. Our part in this battle is to earnestly pray, to comfort, to speak encouragement to the people of Israel (and indeed to all peoples):
Say to those with anxious hearts, “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; the recompense of God will come, but He will save you” (Isaiah 35:4).
We have the glorious promise that when Messiah reigns as King of all the earth, the blind will see, the deaf will hear, “…the lame will leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert” (Isaiah35:6).