When we traveled in Israel, we were told time and again by the guides and the people we met that rain is a blessing for Israel. Besides praying for the peace of Jerusalem, the next most important prayer to the Israeli people, it seems, is to pray for rain in Israel.
Interestingly for our group, it rained on two of the days during our trip. The first time it rained was on Christmas Eve and the other time was on New Year's Eve.
Christmas Eve was the day that our group crossed over the Jordan River and first set foot on the land of Israel. New Year's Eve was the last full day we spent in the land of Israel before we crossed over to Jordan on the next day on New Year's Day.
I find it interesting that it should rain in Israel on those two special days. Somehow, it made us feel that our group was special - that we were a blessing that brought the blessing of rain, a precious gift, to the land of Israel.
And what more appropriate time to bring gifts than on the eve of Christmas Day and on the eve of New Year’s Day?
On Christmas Eve, as we remembered Jesus and exchanged gifts with one another, God remembered His people and blessed their land with rain from Heaven.
On New Year’s Eve, when we visited the Garden Tomb, the Garden Tomb guide told us that the people have been praying for rain to fall in the land. He said that it was a miracle that it was raining and he was very happy about it.
As we parttook of the Holy Communion in a sheltered area in the Garden Tomb, with the sound of rain drops falling in the background, I shared with the group that although the rain caused a little inconvenience for us, we ought to be glad. Glad to remember the Jewish Man who hung on the cross and cried in the rain some two thousand years ago; glad to know that He was cursed so that we might be blessed; glad to see that the land of Israel was blessed with rain; and glad that we could walk in the rain, a blessing from God for Israel, while we were in the land.
And I was glad when I heard a good “Amen!” from the people.