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Holy Land: Pray for Peace, Pray for Rain

Matthew Harrison

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rain has come up a lot thus far on our trip to the Holy Land.  It hasn’t actually rained, in fact the weather has been fantastic – sunny, in the low-to-mid twenties (Celsius), beautiful breeze.  It’s the lack of rain, during this the rainy season, that is a topic of conversation.
We’re spending our second night here in Tiberias, on the shores of the Seaof Galilee.  We toured the region, visited Capernaum, paid a visit to what is believed to be the remains of the house of St. Peter’s mother, stood atop the Mount of Beatitudes, saw a fishing boat dating back to the first century (more on that in another blog entry down the road!), and hopped on a boat, taking a little spin on the Sea of Galilee.  It’s been a busy and scenic day. 
But what I can’t get out of my head is a phrase that our guide Arthur has been repeating: “Pray for peace, pray for rain.”
As we drive along the coast, we see that water levels are drastically down at the Sea.  The Sea, also known as Lake Kinnereth, is 21km long, and 12km wide at it’s broadest point.  It goes about 40 metres down at its deepest point.  What I found most surprising is that it provides up to 40-50% of the entire country with water! 
The mantra is repeated again.
“Pray for peace, and pray for rain.”
This time, Arthur explains when there is more water available people are calmer, and more unified.  It makes sense.  “Someday wars will be fought over water…”, he theorizes, noting not necessarily in Israel, but in countries around the world.
It’s a thought that seems shocking to a Canadian where water is abundant and its use often careless and taken for granted – think of your neighbour that left his lawn sprinkler on for half a day a couple times a week back in July. 
But here, in this hot climate you realize how precious it is, how necessarily, and how easily drought could strike. 
“Pray for peace, and pray for rain.”

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