A tour through Israel will transform the Bible into vivid reality, through the sites and through the overall experience. From the moment you step off the plane in Tel Aviv into a blast of intense heat, you begin to wonder how on earth various figures in the Bible survived for long periods of time in the arid wilderness. After sitting on a plane for five hours I was desperate for a drink of water. My mouth was parched and I had a headache. A gallon of cool water trickling down my throat was all I could focus on.
Water, we take it for granted in the developed world. It is the most basic, the most fundamental of man’s needs and necessary for human development and man’s survival, we crave it more than anything else on this earth. It makes up the majority of your body weight. We need it for cooking, agriculture, industry, electricity. A woman’s ‘waters’ break as she begins the process of labour.
The scarcity of available water has become a hot topic for debate across the world, contributing to conflict as this vital resource becomes difficult to source for an ever increasing population.
There are 722 references to water in the Bible. Water streams through the pages of scripture and is often a metaphor for something else, but each reference is hugely significant and teaches us so much in a spiritual sense. The first reference is in Genesis 1:20. “Let the water yield inexhaustibly the moving animal that hath life.” And the final reference is in Revelations, 22:17: “Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Throughout the Bible water is used to cleanse and heal, to wash away sin. Water is drawn from wells, from rocks. Samson nearly died of thirst but God opened up a hollow place and his strength returned. Across human cultures water has been used to communicate the sacred and gives profound mean to suffering and redemption.
As I walked through the airport in need of water I looked up at the mock western wall and remembered a passage from Zechariah, 14:8, “On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem”. Where could I buy water from? It wasn’t flowing here.
That first evening in Israel we kept returning to the importance of water. We were in touch with those people in the Bible, walking in their footsteps, sharing their concerns and challenges. Was it safe to drink from the tap? The jugged water in the restaurant? Could we buy it on the coach or would we have to boil a kettle of water and let it cool overnight?
Next time you turn the tap on think of the spiritual significance as you watch the water flow! And if you want to bring the Bible to life I would recommend the Christian tour we went on to the Holy Land. Here is the link:
My next travel novel, set in New England with beautiful descriptions of the landscape of Massachusetts, Cape Cod and Rhode Island is now out. It’s called ‘A Time To Reflect.’