Glimpses of Israel - The Desert Blossoms As A Rose

by Joseph Hunting

There is a prophecy made by Isaiah regarding Israel that is surely in the process of being fulfilled. "The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." (35:1)

There are few places on earth that have undergone such a transformation as has Israel over the past half century. The Jezreel valley, once a vast malaria-infested swamp, was drained and transformed into one of the most fertile farmlands on earth. This success story was then repeated in the swamps of the Huleh valley of northern Galilee.

The southern arid desert presented a different challenge. The average annual rainfall was only a few inches. The land was desolate and inhabited by wandering Bedouin who had adapted to grazing their small flocks of goats among the wadis where grass could be found. Then life-giving water was brought from the Sea of Galilee via the national water carrier and the face of the Negev changed dramatically. Drip irrigation was pioneered in Israel and various crops of vegetables were developed to flourish on brackish well water. Settlements dotted the Negev. Beersheba, once a poverty-stricken Bedouin village flourished to become a vigorously developing metropolis.

At a time when man's greed coupled with over stocking of pasture land, plus the mysterious disease known as 'die back' were destroying much of Australia's forests, Israel embarked upon the largest programme of reafforestation the world has ever witnessed. Some 200,000,000 trees were individually planted to reclothe the mountains of Israel with magnificent forests.

In a world scene where there is little to encourage mankind to face the future the fulfilment of prophecy has a message for those who will pause to hear God speaking. "For the Lord shall comfort Zion: He will comfort all her waste places; and He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord." (51:3)