In Deuteronomy the land of Israel is described as “a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills” (8:7), which “drinketh water of the rain of heaven” (11:11). Today, however, Israel’s natural water sources are no longer able to meet the increasing demands of a modern society. Like Australia, Israel currently faces a severe water shortage because of low rainfall and reduced river flows. In response, Israel plans to build two new desalination plants on the coast in the Sorek region by 2013 (Ehud Zion Waldoks, “Cabinet approves 2 desalination plants”, The Jerusalem Post, 21 June 2010 http://www.jpost. com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=179016).

“The two plants, which would double the amount of desalinated water Israel will produce this year”, writes Waldoks, “would be the biggest reverse osmosis desalination plants in the world” producing 150 million cubic metres of water each year. Along with existing plants and another to be built at Ashdod, production of desalinated water would come close to providing the 750 million cubic metres of water consumed by households annually.

Waldoks quotes Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as saying: “Over the last several years, the water market in Israel has been plunged into a deep crisis. There is a gap of hundreds of millions of cubic meters of water that we need each year and these plants which we are planning will serve to fill that gap.”

Israel’s water deficit is the effect of reduced rainfall brought about by climate change as well as more than five years of below average rainfall. Commenting on the water situation in Israel, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau says: “We are still in the midst of a severe water crisis … The ministry, along with the Water Authority, is investing vast efforts in advancing desalination, water treatment plants and distribution systems in order to stabilize the situation. The plan in our hands enables us to leave behind the water crisis within three years.”

Israel may overcome the current water deficit by treating sea water as a water crisis was averted in the time of Isaiah at Jerusalem by making a ditch, but their and our real need is to look “unto the maker thereof” and “unto him that fashioned it long ago” (Isaiah 22:11). Only the coming of Christ will bring a lasting solution to the water crisis and indeed all Israel’s troubles. Isaiah describes the blessings that shall flow from Christ’s presence when “in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water” (Isa 35:6–7).

There is also a spiritual aspect to the water crisis. Israel, Australia and all the nations “(refuse) the waters of Shiloah that go softly” (Isa 8:6) and choose to find their own way so that many “faint for thirst” because the Word of God is refused (Amos 8: 11–13). But the time is coming when all nations shall delight to go up to Jerusalem to the house of God to be taught of His ways (Isa 2:3), and with joy to “draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isa 12:3).