Sea of Galilee Hits New Low

The Feast of Tabernacles or Sukkot concludes the Fall Festivals and comes at the end of seven dry months with no rain in Israel and a long, hot summer.

By David Lazarus |
View of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret)
View of the Sea of Galilee (Kinneret) by the Northern Israeli city of Tiberias Photo: Mendy Hechtman/Flash90

During Sukkot, the Jewish people begin to pray for precious rain.

Water levels in the Sea of Galilee have declined to dangerously low levels after three years of drought, so low, that a large island is now visible in the middle of the depleted lake. Just 24 hours after the initial holiday prayers had concluded, the heavens opened, and the first rains (yoreh in Hebrew) came down.

It was an encouraging sign, but to be completely full, the level of the lake where Jesus walked on water would need to rise an unprecedented 4.6 meters (15 feet). In addition, forecasters are not predicting much rain in the coming winter, and if the level goes any lower, many streams, rivers and reservoirs will dry up as well.

Israel’s Water Authority is pumping less water from the Sea of Galilee than ever before thanks to desalination from the Mediterranean, but without significant rain this year the delicate ecology of the lake could be ruined. Government and religious officials are asking Israelis, and friends of Israel, to pray in earnest for the crucial winter rains to come and bless this “most beautiful of all lands” (Ezekiel 20:6).

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