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June 25, 2018

Dry Sea of Galilee

The new “Island” in the Sea of Galilee (Photo courtesy of the EPA)

1. A DRY AND WEARY LAND…

“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

The “island” in the Sea of Galilee pictured above is not supposed to be there. It surfaced as the level of the lake went down because of the five-year severe drought in the north of Israel. Nor is it the only island to have appeared in the lake. Although there were short and intense times of rain this past season, very little fell in northern Israel. The rain effectively stops in the Middle East from mid-May to mid-October when the “former rains” begin. This means that there are still 3 ½ months of evaporation. As the Scripture above shows, this a land which God cares for, upon which His eyes always rest…it is His desire that it be a well-watered land. Below we copy a portion of a prayer letter dealing with this, which was sent out a week ago by our friend Gene Little. Please pray that God will have mercy on Israel, and His people call out to Him for the needed water (See Isaiah 41:18-20 below).
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Dear Intercessors for Israel:

Israel is in the fifth year of a drought, and the land is dry and thirsty, despite the winter’s rains. The Lake of Galilee has hit record lows as well as it streams and rivers. This past week, Israeli Cabinet ministers approved a NIS 105 million ($30 million) emergency drought recovery program in an effort to rehabilitate seven streams in northern Israel, taking the unprecedented step of bringing desalinated water directly to the Sea of Galilee, which is dangerously low. Benjamin Netanyahu said it was “an urgent plan to deal with the drought problem”, stemming from climate change. According to the Israel Water Authority, a five-year-long drought has plunged water tables to the lowest level in at least 98 years since scientists first began taking measurements in 1920. The Water Authority has estimated that the country’s water tables are now currently in a deficit of some 2.5 billion cubic liters of water, compared to non-drought years. The new plan will bring desalinated water directly to the Sea of Galilee to deal with the lake’s plunging level. “We are turning the Sea of Galilee into a reservoir for desalinated water”, Netanyahu said last Sunday.

The Sea of Galilee is currently at 213.46 meters (689 feet) below sea level, half a meter below the danger zone of the lower red line. In 2001 the Sea of Galilee was at an even lower level, 214.87 meters (705 feet) below sea level, which was christened as the lake’s “black line.” The black line is a dangerously low level that can create irreversible ecological problems, including an increase in the water’s salinity and algae blooms that can do permanent damage to the water quality, and flora and fauna. Last year, the Water Authority had to pump 17,000 tons of salt out of the Sea of Galilee to ensure that the lower water levels did not cause the water to get too salty. Up to 100 million cubic meters of desalinated water could be pumped directly into the Sea of Galilee. (www.timesofisrael.com)

Israel is still bound by water treaties with Jordan and must transfer large amounts of water to feed that nation’s needs from the Jordan River. Desalination also is not a perfect answer to all of Israel’s problems. It leaves the water nutrient poor. Public health announcements have warned Israelis of magnesium shortages from drinking desalinated water only. A shortage of magnesium in your body adversely affects the heart rate among other areas.

Pray that this drought affecting Israel, and its Northern regions will end. Pray that the Lake of Galilee will once more be filled to overflowing.

Declare the LORD’s promise to Israel, over this land:

“For my people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

“The afflicted and needy are seeking water, but there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst; I, the LORD, will answer them myself, as the God of Israel I will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water and the dry land fountains of water…That they may see and recognize, and consider and gain insight as well, that the hand of YHVH has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.” (Isaiah 41:18-20)

“But the land into which you are about to cross to possess it, a land of hills and valleys, drinks water from the rain of heaven, a land for which the LORD your God cares; the eyes of the LORD your God are always on it, from the beginning even to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:11-12)

“And I will cause showers to come down in their season; they will be showers of blessing. Also the tree of the field will yield its fruit and the earth will yield its increase, and they will be secure in their land.” (Ezekiel 34:26)

2. BRITISH ROYALTY AT LAST VISITING ISRAEL, AND WHAT WILL ONE DAY BE THE CITY OF THE GREAT KING.

This evening (25 June) Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, eldest son of Prince Charles and second in line to the British Throne, will set foot in the Holy Land. It will be the first formal visit of a member of the British Royal Family to Israel in its 70-year history (There have been unofficial visits, such as when Prince Charles attended the funerals of Yitzhak Rabin in 1995 and Shimon Peres in 2016). The Prince, who is presently visiting Jordan, is traveling without his wife Kate, who recently gave birth to their third child. He will be in Israel until Thursday afternoon.

During his visit, Prince William will be staying in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, a building which has been the resting of many royal visitors. It was also here that a corner of the building was infamously blown up in 1946 by a Zionist paramilitary group with the loss of many British lives. On Tuesday he will visit the Holocaust Museum Yad VaShem, and later separately with the Prime Minister and President and their wives. After a trip to Tel Aviv Wednesday morning, he will go to Ramallah in Samaria for a meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. On Thursday he is expected to visit the Mount of Olives where his Great Grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg is buried. The princess has been recognized by Yad VaShem as “Righteous Among the Gentiles” for hiding a Jewish woman with her two children in Athens during World War II. Afterwards, he will visit several religious sites, including the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, before flying back to Britain.

Preparatory to his arrival, it has been repeatedly stressed that the Prince’s visit to Israel is “apolitical”—a mission of goodwill, emphasizing the strong ties between the two countries. But that undercurrents of significant political differences exist has been evidenced in the preparations taking place before the visit themselves. The wording of the Prince’s itinerary, coming from Kensington Palace (and no-doubt reflecting instructions from the Foreign Office), has repeatedly made use of the phrase, “Occupied Palestinian Territories”—including the Mount of Olives, the Western Wall, in fact, evidently all of the Old City itself. And the guides escorting him within these areas, will apparently not be Israeli but Palestinian. This we suspect is not Prince William’s fault, but it reflects a position towards Israel which the government, of which he is a figurehead, continues to hold with regards to her place as a people in the land which it relinquished 70 years ago.

For all of the ways in which Britain may be seen as having fallen short in her oversight of “Palestine” during the 30 years following the First World War, there is much for which we are in her debt, for which we are grateful. We are thankful that a member of the Royal Family is finally visiting us, and our prayers are with him and the country over which he may someday be sovereign.

PLEASE PRAY:

* That Prince William will be open to and touched by the Holy Spirit of Truth as he visits the Holy Land. That he will seek the Lord (so honoured by his grandmother the Queen) to grant him counsel regarding what he is seeing and hearing.

* That even as Jacob experienced a deep awareness of holiness and of the fear of the LORD after awaking from his dream at Bethel (Genesis 28:16-17), so may the Prince, in the mercies of God, be made aware of the awesome holiness of the Land as he moves about it during these three days—(including when he is at Ramallah, which lies less than a mile from Bethel!).

* That during his time in Israel, the LORD would give him grace in guarding his words; that he will not be snared in any diplomatic traps layed by the Enemy.

* That as he faces the Temple Mount, He will be made aware that here is where One from whom “royalty” itself derives its meaning will One day reign (Psalm 2),–and be served and worshipped by His people Israel! (Ezekiel 20:40)

* That God would call this young man and his wife, and draw him into His ways.

*That God’s blessing of strength, courage, and counsel will rest upon the army of Believers in Britain…guiding them in their intercession on behalf of the redemptive purposes of their land which He loves—and their alignment with God’s purposes for Jerusalem where He will reign.

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