Israeli Judean Community: A Biblical Vision in Progress
MITZPEH YERICHO, Israel -- Nestled in the barren hills of the Judean Desert, residents of a 35-year-old religious community have a new vision: to build a water park complete with ponds, trees, and foliage -- an oasis in the desert.
Residents of this friendly community envision the park supplementing the town's two main tourist attractions, bike trips, and jeep tours.
CBN News recently visited the yishuv (settlement) to see firsthand the small pond built mostly by the community's teens and young adults who, with some engineering help, managed to bring the water up to the pond.
Mitzpeh Yericho is less than a half hour drive east of Jerusalem in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), in territory the whole world demands Israel "give back."
From the town, you have a panoramic view of the Jordan Valley rift, the Dead Sea and Jericho, the sprawling city built on the ruins of ancient Jericho, scene of the Israelites' first great victory after the Lord commanded them to enter the Promised Land."
Watch a short video of Mitzpeh Yericho below:
The vision began about a year ago when resident Raanan Alexander noticed water flowing from a pipe near Mekorot's facility in the valley below his home. Mekorot is Israel's national water authority.
Alexander, his wife and two children, live in a small caravan on the outskirts of Mitzpeh Yericho. They were intrigued at the sight and soon noticed the bountiful flow taking place three times a day. It didn't take long for the news to reach the rest of the community.
Water is a treasured commodity in Israel and residents from north to south have a built-in appreciation for it. The rainy season usually begins around Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles) in the fall and continues through early spring.
For the next five months or so, there's no rain. It's a long, hot, dry summer. When that first rain falls, everyone's excited, the trees and animals not the least. And when enough winter rains fall in the desert, it literally blooms.
One of the water engineers who surveyed the area told residents it came from a depth of about 300 meters and there's plenty of it. But the Health Ministry, which works with Mekorot, is throwing away more than 200 cubic meters of water every day -- good, clean water that's fine for swimming pools and agriculture, but not up to drinking standards.
Now residents have gotten word to Deputy Speaker of the Knesset MK Betzalel Smutrich (Jewish Home Party), who liked hearing about it and asked for more information.
But what really has many residents excited is seeing scripture fulfilled before their eyes. Isaiah 35 speaks of some of God's many promises to Israel.
"Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow." (Is.35:6b-7)
The young people in this community grew up in a harsh environment, a small town in the midst of the desert, on the outskirts of a predominantly Arab city.
They were raised with a love of the Bible. There's a yeshiva (Torah seminary) in the town, and Bible study is part of the regular school curriculum.
Not surprisingly, these young adults are some of Israel's most exemplary soldiers, bright, creative, and willing to defend their families, friends, and homeland.
That's why they're glad to be part of creating something special with the "newfound" water.
A lot of work lies ahead for Mitzpeh Yericho residents. It won't be easy and it will be costly. But they believe it's worth it. They have a God-given vision.