They waited for me as for showers and drank in my words as the spring rain. Job 29:23
I love the rain. I always have. My family would tell you that I “get a little loony” in the rain, and often growing up you would find me out getting drenched in a storm. So you can imagine what a stretch it has been for me to live in Israel–a desert land that literally has NO rain all summer. None. Zip. Zilch. As in, people don’t even WANT rain because it messes with the agriculture. The long, hot, dry days can sap your energy and put you in a less than cheerful mood. A few weeks ago they were calling for rain, but all I really got was a small spattering of drops on my face that in reality could probably have simply been water dripping from the air-conditioning of the apartments above me–not really RAIN.
The past two days have been hot. Really hot. Every time I went out it seemed like the sun was more intense than normal. *sigh* Now that it’s October I was thinking it is supposed to get cooler. Sukkot was all set to start at sundown on Wednesday. Sukkot is the last of the fall festivals, coming right after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The feasts and festivals are an incredibly interesting study which, alas, is much too involved for my little blog! On an immensely basic level the period of time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is an intense time of soul-searching referred to as the “Days of Awe.” On Rosh Hashanah the books are opened, and then you have the intermediary “Days of Awe” before your fate is thought to be sealed for the next year on Yom Kippur–the holiest day of the year.
Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur and, unlike the solemnity of Yom Kippur, it is a time of rejoicing and happiness, and is also referred to as “The Season of Our Joy.” The people build booths outside their houses called sukkahs, and they sit together in these booths, eating, singing, discussing Torah, and generally being festive. This holiday is MUCH more involved than that, but I would encourage you to read up on it for yourself. It is incredibly fascinating and the Messianic implications in all of the feasts and festivals are mind-blowing! The idea of rain plays a part in this festival as well. In his book The Seven Festivals of the Messiah, Edward Chumney writes that, “Rain was a prominent feature in the celebration of the Feast of Sukkot…The rain represented the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) and the water drawing (a daily Sukkot ceremony) pointed to that day when, according to the prophet Joel, G-d would rain His Spirit upon (all flesh).”181.
As I was saying before I digressed into professor DeLora mode, the last two days have been especially warm, and for the past four months my soul has been craving some rain–real rain–not just a sprinkle. So last night I was in my room with the window open and the wind was starting to blow the rose-petals off my window sill. When I began my attempt to rescue them and close the window I suddenly realized there was more than wind coming in my window, it was something–wet! And it suddenly hit me. RAIN! IT WAS REALLY RAINING!!! Grabbing my key I scurried down the stairs as fast as I could without breaking my neck in the dark, and experienced my first REAL rain since coming to this place. What can I say. I think the few people on the streets and the random taxi drivers thought I was a little crazy, but jogging down the deserted streets of the Shuk and feeling the drops in my face, I could have cared less.
It felt like a gift. It felt like a promise.
Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. Hosea 6:3
Be glad, people of Zion, rejoice in the LORD your God, for he has given you the autumn rains because he is faithful. He sends you abundant showers, both autumn and spring rains, as before. Joel 2:23
Sometimes it can be so hot and dry, and you wonder if any of this is worth it. You just want a little relief from the sun. Your heart is a desert and your energy, both physically and emotionally, is completely gone. Seek Him. He will come. He will bring the rain and it will be green again. Maybe it will be four month, or four years, but it will come. I am convinced He will bring a harvest. This will all be worth it, and He will fulfill all He has promised…for me and for you.