Be Thankful for the Rain
RAIN! What would we do without it? True, too much rain can cause disastrous floods. Also, people who live in cold, wet climates or seasons like that may not always enjoy the rain. (Ezra 10:9) But what about the millions who must endure hot, dry weather much of the time? When at last the rains come, they are, oh, so refreshing!
That was the case in Bible lands, such as the interior of Asia Minor, where the apostle Paul did missionary work. While there, Paul told the ancient Lycaonians: “[God] did not leave himself without witness in that he did good, giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts to the full with food and good cheer.” (Acts 14:17) Note that Paul mentioned rain first, for without it nothing could grow and there would be no “fruitful seasons.”
The Bible has a lot to say about rain. The Hebrew and Greek words for rain appear in the Bible more than one hundred times. Would you like to know more about the remarkable gift of rain? At the same time, would you like to strengthen your faith in the scientific accuracy of the Bible?
What the Bible Says About Rain
Jesus Christ drew attention to a vital provision without which there would be no rain. “Your Father,” said Jesus, “makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45) Did you notice that Jesus referred to the sun before mentioning the rain? That is fitting because the sun not only provides plants with energy to grow but also drives earth’s water cycle. Yes, it is the heat from the sun that causes an approximate 100,000 cubic miles [400,000 km3] of seawater to evaporate into freshwater vapor each year. Because Jehovah God created the sun, he is rightly called the one who draws up water to make rain.
The Bible describes the water cycle, saying: “God . . . draws up the drops of water; they filter as rain for his mist, so that the clouds trickle, they drip upon mankind abundantly.” (Job 36:26-28) In the thousands of years since those scientifically accurate words were written, man has had a lot of time to try to understand the water cycle. “Currently,” states the 2003 textbook Water Science and Engineering, “the mechanism of raindrop formation is not known with certainty.”
What scientists do know is that raindrops are formed from microscopic particles that become the nuclei of tiny droplets in clouds. Each of these droplets must increase in size a million or more times to make a single drop of rain. It is a complex process that can take several hours. A science textbook, Hydrology in Practice, states: “There are several theories of how cloud droplets grow to become raindrops, and investigations into the details of several proposed methods continue to claim the attention of research workers.”
The Creator of the mechanisms that produce rain could ask his servant Job these humbling questions: “Does there exist a father for the rain, or who gave birth to the dewdrops? Who put wisdom in the cloud layers? . . . Who can exactly number the clouds in wisdom, or the water jars of heaven—who can tip them over?” (Job 38:28, 36, 37) Some 3,500 years later, scientists still grapple with these difficult questions.
Which Way Does the Water Cycle Go?
Greek philosophers taught that the source of river water was not rain but seawater that somehow flowed under the earth to the top of the mountains, becoming fresh springwater. One Bible commentary claims that Solomon embraced such a notion. Consider Solomon’s inspired words: “All the winter torrents are going forth to the sea, yet the sea itself is not full. To the place where the winter torrents are going forth, there they are returning so as to go forth.” (Ecclesiastes 1:7) Did Solomon really mean that seawater was somehow piped up the inside of mountains to become the source of rivers? To answer that question, let us see what Solomon’s fellow countrymen believed about the water cycle. Were they bound by false notions?
Less than a hundred years after Solomon’s day, God’s prophet Elijah showed his knowledge about the direction from which to expect rain. During his day, the land experienced a severe drought for over three years. (James 5:17) Jehovah God brought this calamity upon his people because they had rejected him in favor of the Canaanite rain-god, Baal. But Elijah helped to bring the Israelites to repentance, so he was now willing to pray for rain. While praying, Elijah asked his attendant to look “in the direction of the sea.” On being informed of “a small cloud like a man’s palm ascending out of the sea,” Elijah knew that his prayer was answered. Soon, “the heavens themselves darkened up with clouds and wind and a great downpour began to occur.” (1 Kings 18:43-45) Thus Elijah showed an awareness of the water cycle. He knew that clouds would form over the sea to be blown eastward by winds over the Promised Land. To this day, that is the method by which the land gets its rain.
About one hundred years after Elijah’s prayer for rain, a humble farmer named Amos emphasized an important detail about the source of the water cycle. Amos was used by God to prophesy against the Israelites for oppressing the poor and for worshipping false gods. Lest they perish at God’s hand, Amos urged them to “search for Jehovah, and keep living.” Then Amos explained that Jehovah alone should be worshipped because he is the Creator, “the One calling for the waters of the sea, that he may pour them out upon the surface of the earth.” (Amos 5:6, 8) Amos later repeated this wonderful fact about the water cycle and its direction. (Amos 9:6) Amos thus showed that the oceans are the main source of earth’s rain.
This fact was scientifically proved by Edmond Halley in 1687. Yet, it took time before others accepted Halley’s evidence. “The idea that there is a circulatory system within the Earth, by which seawater is conveyed to mountaintops and there discharged, persisted until early in the 18th century,” states Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Today, the truth about the direction of the water cycle is common knowledge. The same source explains: “The waters of the sea are evaporated, are subsequently condensed within the atmosphere, fall to the Earth as precipitation, and finally flow in the rivers back to the sea.” Clearly, then, Solomon’s words about the rain cycle, recorded at Ecclesiastes 1:7, refer to the same process involving clouds and rain.
What Should This Move You to Do?
The fact that the water cycle was so accurately described by various Bible writers is one of many outstanding proofs that the Bible is inspired by mankind’s Creator, Jehovah God. (2 Timothy 3:16) True, man’s mismanagement of the earth has apparently thrown the weather patterns off balance, resulting in severe floods in some areas and droughts in others. But the Creator of the water cycle, Jehovah God, long ago promised that he would eventually intervene and “bring to ruin those ruining the earth.”—Revelation 11:18.
In the meantime, how can you show your appreciation for God’s gifts, such as the rain? You can do so by studying his Word, the Bible, and applying in your life what you learn. Then you will have the hope of surviving into God’s new world, where you will be able to enjoy all of God’s gifts forever. For, indeed, “every good gift and every perfect present” comes from the Source of the rain, Jehovah God.—James 1:17.
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While Elijah prayed, his attendant looked “in the direction of the sea”