I have never seen a place as beautiful in my life as the rolling hills of senonian chalk running through the Judean wilderness. It rained this weekend and everywhere was green, there were pools of mud and muck in any low spot that caught water through the hills. All sides of the rolling waves of soft limestone were dotted with green life from the once a year that they actually receive adequate rainfall. The deep wadis that were just a week ago bone dry were filled, flash flooded, with rich fertile soil filled water, running through them so fast that it seemed they could take out anything in their way. Seeing the wilderness in its most fertile state, just after the rains, watching the land that has nothing, have everything it needed was a sight I will never be able to get out of my head.
One of my classes hiked into the middle of the wilderness in order to climb a mountain that was once a Herodian fortress. It was about a two mile walk up, most of which consisted of wandering amongst the soft rolling hills before reaching the actual climb of the mountain. It was almost hard not to stop and just gaze into the nothingness around as we walked. Looking off the top we could see the dead sea in the distance. The sunlight was there, looming over the water while everywhere else over the land of nothingness were clouds, ever moving on, shadowing the wilderness for a much needed rain.
On our walk back we there was a pool surrounded by more green than anyone ever expects to find in the desert wasteland. The pool was about six feet long and no more than two feet wide. It was mud filled and there were little ripples filling it from the wind and sprinkling rain that was falling. Everywhere around it was the sand colored dirt that is the stereotypical land there in the wilderness. Looking at that pool and its surroundings gave a beautiful picture of who God is, and was, for His people.
God provides. Even in places that seem that no life could ever possibly exist, not to mention flourish, God shows up. God intervenes when everything is dry, lifeless, and seems hopeless. Even in places that only get four inches of rain a year, the rain that does come, (or the mercy, love, presence, forgiveness, grace etc. of God) comes in such abundance as to provide life enough to sustain until the rain returns. Even in times where it seems helpless and dry, the hope of knowing that the abundant rains will come to the rescue is how we get through. It is in the contrast between the dirt dry barrenness of the desert and the amazing green life it takes on after the rain that God shows who He is for those who know Him. God restores. The wilderness itself is a wonderful sight to see, whether dry or full of life, it takes your breath away at its vastness and greatness. Likewise, God is beautiful, and will make you stand in awe of Him.
All of that to say, that standing there in the wilderness I felt the qualities of God that I have just been told of my whole life. God is good. God provides. God sustains. God shows up even when all is helpless. God is beautiful. God is always present, regardless of what His presence looks like at certain times. God captures your attention. God is a never ending mystery and will always continue to keep you coming back for more.