More than 25 years ago, I shared a good deal about the political issues that were affecting the nations that rely on the waters of the rivers Euphrates and Tigris – and how easily water can become ‘weaponised.’ Since then, there has been progress on some fronts – please see these Climate Diplomacy updates concerning this important issue. Euphrates Crisis and Conflict over Euphrates Tigris.
The news is full of stories of searing heatwaves, soaring temperatures and wildfires, as well as record breaking deluges – to say nothing of melting glaciers and ever stronger winds. One part of India was deluged with more rain in day that London gets in a year – and that in the course of just one day in the monsoon season.
When it comes to anything weather-related there is always a temptation to look at matters through the lens of our own convenience. We appreciate some rain for the garden, but hope there will be none of it around when it comes to important sporting or social events. Our first thought may well not be for the millions affected by flood and drought though.
Preachers expounding Jesus’ invitation to those who are thirsty to come to Him (John 7:37) often remind their hearers that we know very little about real thirst in this country compared with so many other parts of the world. Over two billion people currently lack access to safe drinking water in their own homes, and the forecast is that within just three years, that is by 2025, over half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. These numbers will increase significantly if climate change and population growth follow or exceed predicted trajectories.
There is plenty of well-intentioned talk about halting the effects of climate change these days, but taking sufficient action in time to reverse such alarming trends is another matter altogether. There is always endless scope for prayer and action concerning crucial climate matters, and especially the need for the fast dwindling supplies of Earth’s vital water to be properly allocated and preserved.
The latest decision taken by the Supreme Court in this respect has aroused intense distress amongst climate change activists – not least the people of California, who are saying, ‘just come and see what is really happening here in terms of the effects of climate change (wild fires and lack of water)! https://www.reuters.com/legal/government/us-supreme-court-limits-federal-power-curb-carbon-emissions-2022-06-30/.
The fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun, and the sun was allowed to scorch people with fire. They were seared by the intense heat and they cursed the name of God, who had control over these plagues, but they refused to repent and glorify Him. (Rev. 16:8-9)
See also this article from the BBC on how unprecedented levels of dam building and water extraction by nations on great rivers are leaving countries further downstream increasingly thirsty, increasing the risk of conflicts.
We need Your intervention, Lord. Please inspire scientists and environmentalists, and leaders of all kinds at this time when drought and famine are increasingly raging. Please make a way for the billions who are directly affected by water shortages and lack.
Help those who are engaged in efforts to provide fresh water for people, everyone from those who make boreholes, like the recent one funded by Mission Africa, to those who are thinking strategically and internationally.
For a look at some of the dire effects of drought in Scripture, and some of the reasons the prophets saw behind them, see the whole of Jeremiah 14, as well as Amos 4:7-8 and here for a whole list of verses about rain in the Scriptures.
In His great mercy the Lord purposed that water would be readily available for most people most of the time. It falls from the sky, no less. Maybe righteousness likewise . . . Isn’t that an amazing thought? God had made Israel dependent on the regular spring and autumn rains. See some notes on God blessing and withholding rain in Blue gold.
- Deuteronomy 28:23-24
And your heavens which are over your head shall be bronze, and the earth which is under you shall be iron. The LORD will change the rain of your land to powder and dust; from the heaven it shall come down on you until you are destroyed.
- Jeremiah 3:2-3
[on account of] your harlotries and your wickedness.
the showers have been withheld,
And there has been no latter rain.
- Haggai 1:10-11
Therefore the heavens above you withhold the dew, and the earth withholds its fruit. For I called for a drought on the land and the mountains, on the grain and the new wine and the oil, on whatever the ground brings forth, on men and livestock, and on all the labor of your hands.”
- Deuteronomy 28:12
The LORD will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
- See 1 Kings 17:1
And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.”
- And the great drought in Jeremiah’s day in chapter 14ff.
- Leviticus 26:18-20
‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins. I will break the pride of your power;I will make your heavens like iron and your earth like bronze. And your strength shall be spent in vain;for your land shall not yield its produce, nor shall the trees of the land yield their fruit.
- Amos 4:6-8
“Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities.
And lack of bread in all your places;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.
“I also withheld rain from you,
When there were still three months to the harvest.
I made it rain on one city,
I withheld rain from another city.
One part was rained upon,
And where it did not rain the part withered.
So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water,
But they were not satisfied;
Yet you have not returned to Me,”
Says the LORD.
- See also Ezekiel 34:26, Matthew 24:7 and Reelations 11:6 whenre we find the two witnesses of Revelation who have the power to shut up the heavens so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and the power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague as often as they want. ()
That is why drought is such a terrible thing. One of my favourite verses is this: Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation and righteousness may bear fruit; let the earth cause them both to sprout; I the LORD have created it. (Is.45:8 ESV)
Many of us know what it is to pine for something or someone we have lost, when all our senses are, as it were, out on stalks and our hearts reaching out desperately to find what has been lost. I have written more such pining in Vale of Tears: https://ruachministries.co.uk/vale-of-tears-searching-and-pining/ ]#
The following are just a few of the countries directly affected by drought of ‘biblical’ proportions. at this time:
America, and California in particular – see this apocalyptic statement in which NASA claims that California is very seriously running out of water.
Northern Italy, where the crucial river Po has more or less dried up.
See also here for a drought map of the US.
Bangladesh and north east India are experiencing the worst floods in living memory.
Portugal (and Spain)
Portuguese reservoirs are at an all-time low; and temperatures have soared about 40 degrees in many parts of Europe much earlier than ever before. We have written before about the process of desertification.
Let’s remember all these and far more besides affected by drought and flood, and pray for
- wise planning by public authorities to mitigate them,
- the overcoming of those who put private interests ahead of public welfare,
- but still more for the Lord’s mercy towards the vast regions thus affected.