In a previous post I had mentioned the use of the natural world as a source of inspiration for the writer of the Book of Job.  I’d like to continue that theme by sharing this fabulous passage, taken from Chapter 6.  Here the long-suffering Job likens his friends betrayal to a wadi that goes dry in the summer.

My brothers betrayed like a wadi,                                                                                     like the channel of brooks that run dry.

They are dark from the ice,                                                                                                 snow heaped on them.

When they warm, they are gone,                                                                                        in the heat they melt from their place.

The paths that they go on are winding,                                                                             they mount in the void and are lost.

The caravans of Tema looked out,                                                                                        the convoys of Sheba awaited.

Disappointed in what they had trusted,                                                                            they reached it and their hopes were dashed.  (Job 6:15-20)

A wadi is a dry creek bed in the desert where ephermal runoff streams are generated in response to infrequent rainfall events.  These sporadic pulses of rainwater can support vegetation in the desert environment that sustain the camels and goats of the pastoral nomads.  The mention of snow and ice here could suggest a northerly location perhaps where Israel’s boarder fringes the high mountains of Lebanon.

Those wanting a more in-depth technical study on wadis and their hydrology, including sustainable management for water resource purposes might like to consult this book on the topic.