Thursday, June 11, 2015


Blooming Desert, Jordan Valley, Israel

I’m sure a lot of the perspective we have about the Middle Eastern lands comes from the war-torn videos we see on television and the internet. The country seems to be void of green vegetation which is comprised of lots of rocky outcroppings and sandy desert landscapes. The Bible relates stories of God leading his chosen people out of bondage from Egypt to a land of milk and honey. But I’ve always had a difficult time relating to this description of the land considering my limited contemporary views of the area.

My recent travels to Israel in the lower Jordan River valley was quite a pleasant eye-opener. The Jordan meanders nearly 200 miles south between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. It is only 65 miles as the crow flies. And we found this area to be very alive with a variety of green crops. The fertile alluvial soil, abundant rainfall and level ground has rendered the land here highly favored for settlement over the centuries. Matthew records that “Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity”. The valley roads also attracted commerce and military might in the ancient world, making the lower Galilee a strategic prize.

When the new country of Israel was formed after World War II in 1948, Jewish immigrants from all over the world arrived to discover they had a long dormant talent for agriculture. Even though Israel is a relatively small country, ancient Israel was half the size! This gathering is also one of the key signs of the end times. If you notice the cleared field in the foreground of this photo I took from atop the ancient ruins of a Canaanite sentry position, irrigation lines are assuring the production of abundant crops. We even passed fields of ripening, waving wheat reminiscent of my native Kansas heartland as we journeyed through this fertile valley. And a dairy farm!

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