Rivers in the Desert – Wadi Zin

Rivers in the Desert is the title of Nelson Glueck’s 1959 history of the Negev. These rivers also may be seen in the Judean wilderness and in the Sinai. Thomas Levy followed up on some of Glueck’s research in a Biblical Archaeology Review article in 1990.

If one travels in the desert during the summer months he will see a dry, desolate bad land with only an isolated tamarisk tree or shrub where the last water of the winter rain flowed. In the winter it can be different. Israel has two dominant seasons: winter and summer. The summer is dry and the winter is wet. The early rains begin about mid-October and continue till the late rains of early April. See Deuteronomy 11:14 and Joel 2:23.

Levy reminds us that “Nahal, incidentally, is Hebrew for a dry river bed or valley that flows at most a few times a year. In Arabic, the word is wadi. The two words are used interchangeably in Israel today.” The wadi is similar to the arroyo of the American southwest.

While traveling south of Beersheba, yesterday and today, we crossed the Wadi Zin (Joshua 13:21ff.) at least three times in each direction we traveled.

Here is what the Wadi looks like when it is dry.

Wadi Zin near Avedat in the Negev of Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Wadi Zin near Avedat in the Negev of Israel. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

And this marker on the highway shows travelers the depth of the water when the wadi is flooded. The person in the photo is six feet tall. The marker goes to 1.5 meters (about 5 feet), and the pole is higher.

Marker to let travelers know the depth of the water in the Wadi Zin.

Marker to let travelers know the depth of the water in the Wadi Zin. Photo by Dan Kingsley.

For more pictures, including rivers in the desert during the rain season, see here.

2 responses to “Rivers in the Desert – Wadi Zin

  1. Dear Ferrell,
    — “For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; (NASB ©1995)

    This is one aspect of the promised land is not it?

    Once again, thank you for your post well illustrated with interesting pictures.

    Best regards

  2. Pingback: Visualizing Isaiah 32: like the shade of a great rock in a weary land | Ferrell's Travel Blog

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