“Pour down, O skies, from above! Let the heavens rain down victory! Let the earth open up and triumph sprout Yes, let vindication spring up: I Hashem have created it.” Isaiah 45:8
The Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) rose just over 4 inches over the weekend according to the Israel Water Authority. This latest rise means that the level of the Kinneret has risen 4.6 feet so far this winter and is expected to rise even more in the coming days as recent rains flow down from the Golan Heights. This will raise the water above the lower red line for the first time in two years.
Israel had been suffering from a five-year drought and 2018 was one of the driest in the last 100 years.
The Kinneret is still 14.5 feet below its record highest level
During the summer, the Sea of Galilee evaporates at the rate of a 0.4 inches per day, meaning it will again drop below the lower red line.
Despite current rainfall and the lake’s increased water levels, the Kinneret is still more than 16 feet below the level that is considered full. The Kinneret is 5.3 feet above the black line at which irreversible ecological damage begins to take place. The problem came to a head last year when the Water Authority extracted about 17,000 tons of salt.
This year has a built-in extra month of prayer for rain. A prayer for rain is inserted into the thrice-daily prayers during the autumn holiday of Sukkoth and extends until the springtime holiday of Passover. This year is a leap year and as such, an extra month of Adar is added to the Hebrew calendar before Passover. In effect, this means that there will be an additional month to pray for rain.
Rain in Israel is a reflection of the relationship between the Jews and God.
If, then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving Hashem your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. Deuteronomy 11:13
In an interview last month, Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, head of the Noahide Court of the Sanhedrin, explained that prayers for rain in Israel benefited all nations.
“The entire world receives its sustenance, spiritual and physical, via the land of Israel,” Rabbi Schwartz told Breaking Israel News. “Not only is this written in Jewish sources but we see this today; Israel is a tiny country yet we produce more than enough food for our needs, a beautiful bounty that we even export. We have technology that allows other countries to increase their food production.”
Israel’s role as a leader in water technology is clear but it may be interesting in the spring to look back and see whether the extra prayers for rain had any benefit for the world’s bounty.