JERUSALEM, Israel – Following three consecutive winters of below-average rainfall, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is at a dangerously low level.
The deficit was evident last weekend at the 62nd Speedo Sea of Galilee Swim, an annual event that draws more than 10,000 participants, adults and children alike, to swim across the sea. The event offers 1.5 and 3.5 kilometer swimming lengths.
"It was great, but I did it much slower this year," Dave Silverman, owner of Dave's Hair Design in Jerusalem, told CBN News of this year's event. "Even though I was convinced I was way ahead of my wife and 11-year-old son, in actuality I came in an hour and a half ahead of them. The weather was perfect and the water was flat as a mirror – thousands of people!"
Watch the 2013 event here.
This year, an island in the sea and the lengthening shore provided visual evidence of diminished water levels. Over the long summer, the water level dropped more than a meter (yard) – even further below the red line.
The red line, established in the late 1960s, determines the lowest level at which the water authority can operate administratively without potentially damaging the ecological system or the environment. The water commissioner is responsible for enforcing the limits, The Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies stated in a 2005 report.
It's not the first time sparse winter rains have imperiled the nation's soul source of sweet water. In 2009, following five dry winters, the first heavy rain fell on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, encouraging the population countrywide.
The Israel Water Authority (Mekerot) monitors the Sea of Galilee year round to determine when and how much of the water can be used.
This year, Mekerot Director Amir Givati predicted another below average rainy season. If he's correct, the Coastal Aquifer Basin, another water source that's already below the red line, could drop even further.
Mekerot's gloomy prediction: "…the worst is yet to come."
"According to weather models the Water Authority has received from international forecasting centers, and also from the Israeli meteorological center, the worst is yet to come," YNet reported.
But we can pray into God's promises.
"Be glad then, you children of Zion and rejoice in the Lord your God; for He has given you the former rain faithfully and He will cause the rain to come down for you — the former rain and the latter rain in the first month." (Joel 2:23)
Observant Israelis begin to pray for winter rains during Sukkot, the harvest festival known abroad as the Feast of Tabernacles.
Would you join us in praying for abundant winter rains for Israel, both physical and spiritual?