October 24, 2019

The Negev, like all deserts, clearly speaks.  No water. No life. We have never been more appreciative of water.  Our backpack reservoirs have risen to the status of necessity as we crave water in this parched land.  Without water, there’s death in the caldera.

trunk + branches> roots
(upside has outgrown the downside)
This sign was stuck in the desert floor with nothing but sand around it.
roots>trunk + branches
(upside less than downside)

As I walked today through an ancient volcano’s caldera (different than an erosion crater or makhtesh), I thought about what makes for life and death in the Negev.  I figured out that life pools in the low places.  The higher I climbed, the less likely life was to be found.  Beauty, yes; life, no.

my path went up and over this bluff
walked by, wide-eyed at the beauty

I thought, this is true for my personal pilgrimage as well—if my accomplishments rise higher than my character has clawed deeper, death isn’t far away.  This kind of soul death is measured in eternity’s time metric, not election cycles or even personal life spans.    

A quiet canyon, the work of more than many lifetimes

The huge Hand that squeezed rocks into spirals reflects strength beyond my imagining. 

Pressure from this same Hand shapes my own character, and yours.

Remarkably deep within wadis, amidst long stretches of desert, a lone tree stands. 

The acacia trees root themselves, shouting “I’m alive!”  I too search until I find what keeps me alive.  Despite wounds, abuse, or loss, God instills longing for life. People angle for this life despite defying obstacles. 

The desert is preferred by many Israelis.  “Beautiful” is their frequent one-word description.  And, here in the desert lies hope for Israel, as urged by former Prime Minister David Ben Gurion.  Truth is, there is no boundary, between Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Tel-Aviv if Israelis do not build in the desert. 

The Sun here in the Negev hides his face, leaving only his trace, so not to blind us with too much brilliance.  But during times of no cloud cover, its best to get to low places.  That’s where life lives.