The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Isaiah 35:1

The poet S.T. Coleridge wrote concerning "The Ancient Mariner" adrift on the ocean:

Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink[1].

Alas, we as a planet sit upon large continents surrounded by even larger amounts of saltwater. Many areas suffer drought when undrinkable water is literally steps away.

The problem is at least as old as the world-changing flood of Noah's day, and may reached back to creation itself. But the prophet Isaiah used the metaphor of a desert becoming a garden, and since then interpreters have considered the possibility that this prophecy might be quite literal.

As it turns out, scientists in Israel, faced with devastating droughts that were diminishing the great inland seas of Biblical times (the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea), overcame obstacles to economically desalinate the Mediterranean and Red Seas.

Though not specifically changing the Negev into Eden, the encroachment of the desert has been averted and the farmland that awaited Joshua in the conquest, with all its abundance, is making a comeback.

Though following a dire prediction of the destruction of Edom in apocalyptic terms, this verse is preceded by verses commanding that the Bible be read for understanding the times[2]. This verse promises blessings to God's people can claim even though the end of the world has not come. The contrast with the devastation to Edom (same Hebrew word as "Adam," and thus mankind), God's chosen people, cousins of Edom (Jacob's twin), will see that which was barren come alive.

Regardless if this prophecy was meant to be literal, we can rejoice with the nation of Israel that God had blessed them and their neighbors with this technology. A crisis has been averted and excess water can now be returned to the historic seas that define both Israel and its neighborhood. And in the meantime, we get a glimpse at what God will do for all his people everywhere when He rebuilds the earth for all of eternity.

Meanwhile, the quenching of spiritual thirst is but a step of faith away. In another place, God bids his people to come to water that satisfies beyond anything found in the technological wonders modern science can bring mankind.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price[3].

  1. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Part II, line 118 (Link)
  2. Isa. 34:16-17 (Link)
  3. Isa. 55:1 (Link)

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