We are rejoicing and praising the Lord for the abundance of rain which He poured out on His Land during 2012–2013. Many of you may recall that our June 2012 edition of the Dispatch from Jerusalem also contained an article on rain. It is a joy to be able to report, for the second year in a row, that the Lord has blessed His people with rain.
“Israel’s climate is characterized by much sunshine, with a rainy season from November to April. Total annual precipitation ranges from 20–30 inches (50–70 cm.) in the north to about an inch (2.5 cm.) in the far south” (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The Bible talks about the former rains (those before Sukkot or Feast of Tabernacles) and the latter rains (those after Pesach or Passover). Biblically, the rainy season begins at Sukkot and ends at Pesach. This year, Sukkot began on October 1 and the last day of Pesach was April 1. Substantial amounts of rain continued to fall on the Land during the month of April—the promised latter rains!
The rainy season of 2012–2013 began with a surprise—a significant rainstorm on August 30! Although it did not have an effect on the water level in the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), it was a harbinger of more unusual events to come. November 9 brought a storm to Eliat, a city in southern Israel which usually gets a negligible amount of annual rainfall. As reported in Arutz Sheva, “The city’s airport was flooded and closed for flights.” Another storm in January, which lasted almost one week, dropped 10–20 cm (3.9 in–7.9 in) of snow in parts of Jerusalem and brought Tel Aviv, the “city that never sleeps,” to a temporary standstill due to flooding.
When Israelis discuss rain, often they talk about the current water level of the Kinneret. Israel’s Water Authority has established three threshold lines for the purpose of managing this body of water, which provides 25–30% of the nation’s water. The Kinneret itself is below sea level so the figures for these lines are expressed as negative numbers—so many meters below sea level.
Most of the news articles which reported the weather during this past winter gave statistics for the rise in the level of the Kinneret and the current distance from the Upper and Lower Red Lines. According to the Water Authority, lake levels usually start rising from mid-December. This year, the rise started as early as November. And it was just the fifth time since modern weather records have been kept that the nation experienced six to seven days of straight rain (January 2013). Furthermore, while snow is certainly not unheard of, meteorologists noted that this year’s snowfall was unusual in scope. It had been nearly five years since the country had received the amount of snow that fell in 2012–2013.
Rain is a blessing from the Lord that comes from no other source. Although scientists have been trying to artificially cause rain to fall with some limited success, the Bible says, “Are there any among the idols of the nations that can cause rain? Or can the heavens give showers? [Are] You not He, O LORD our God? Therefore we will wait for You, since You have made all these.” (Jer. 14:22).
Jewish people add special prayers for rain after Sukkot and until Pesach, recognizing that the Lord is in control of the heavens. “But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause, who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. He gives rain on the earth, and sends waters on the fields” (Job 5:8–10).
Israelis are happy for the rain to fall. The Jerusalem Post quoted Hillel Glassman of the Israel Nature and Parks Authority who called the rain, “a celebration of water in nature that we have not enjoyed in years…the Kinneret is filling up at an insane pace.” Rain is a visible sign of the faithful God who cares for His Land. “Be glad then, you children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully, and He will cause the rain to come down for you—the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month]” (Joel 2:23). Israel, we join you in thanking the Lord for an abundantly rainy winter.
December 22: Kinneret rose 18 cm (7.1 in) rise in 24 hours, 10-year record broken
January 1: Kinneret rose 50 cm (19.7 in) in December, sharpest December rise since 1994
January 8: Kinneret rose 22 cm (8.6 in) in a single day
January 10: Water level rose more than 70 cm (27.6 in) in six days
January 11: Storm brought 200% of seasonal rainfall
January 13: Kinneret higher than at the end of last winter
January 20: Level now halfway between two Red Lines
January 24: Dead Sea rose 10 cm (3.9 in), the first recorded increase in a decade
January 31: Kinneret water levels rose nearly a meter (3 ft 3 in) in two months
February 1: January rainfall broke all-time Israeli record
March 2013 Kinneret at eight-year high
Photo Credit: Click on photo to see photo credit
Source: Janet Aslin, BFP Staff Writer
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