Olive Trees in the Desert?
For thousands of years, olive trees have been planted in Israel—the Holy Land—by Jews, Romans, and almost every people group to have come to the land of God.
Yet, it is amazing to realize that olive trees have been cultivated in the desert! Particularly in the Negev—where summer temperatures usually exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the yearly rainfall ranges from a maximum of 12 inches in the ‘fertile’ regions, to under 3 inches elsewhere.
How can a tree grow in the desert?
Olive trees, particularly in a region such as the Negev, must be planted. They’re not native to desert-like climates. Olive trees thrive best when water can be found via moist soil, and a decent water table or an adequate rainy season. At the same time…a modern, western style irrigation isn’t the olive tree’s preferred method of obtaining the necessary moisture to thrive.
So, how did olive trees come to reside in the Negev?
In Shivta—an unoccupied village located in the Negev Desert, used by Byzantines, Arabs, Jews, and even Romans over the centuries—many olive trees were planted centuries ago, which are still surviving to this day. These olive trees are estimated to be up to 1,600 years old! They’ve survived against the odds—despite both decreased yearly rainfall and untended water runoff collection systems, distribution channels, and dams from centuries past.
Recently, scientists have traveled to this region to begin repairs on the water collection, distribution systems, and dams built between the 5th and 7th centuries A.D.—even going so far as to gently prune the olive trees. Yet, this is a minor help when you consider the length of time these trees have gone without human assistance.
How did the trees survive without help?
One of the main reasons for this unbelievable tale of survival is the age of these particular olive trees found in the Negev Desert! Yes…because they’ve known a gentle upbringing and care in their first years—despite the arid climate, they have a strong root system. Yet, even more important to consider, is the fact that these olive trees have withstood the test of time.
As the people who planted them left the region, the olive trees learned to go without pruning—surviving year after year, only being able to rely on the elements and themselves to remove pieces that were no longer thriving.
Then, as the years continued to pass, the water systems that the people built slowly clogged and decayed, bringing the level of water received to the point where only the yearly rains could nourish them.
These events took hundreds of years, and the trees were able to gradually become accustomed to the harshness of their lives—learning to thrive in their personal desert.
Olive trees, despite their general dependence on humans, are resilient with unbelievable longevity: bringing beauty, life, and sustenance for untold generations. They give us a glimpse into what we should be with God—thriving, no matter our circumstances.
Planting Trees in the Negev
At My Olive Tree, we’re not only following the tradition of planting olive trees in the Negev… we’ve gone a step beyond! By using Israeli technology, such as water drip systems, to give these plants their best chance, we are able to fulfill their needs until they’re able to produce a harvest—allowing the people of Israel to not only care for them… but benefit financially, spiritually, and environmentally.
Yet, now at My Olive Tree, we’re going further still… fulfilling even more Biblical prophecy!
“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord, ‘When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.’
“‘I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.’
“‘I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your God”—Amos 9:13-15
In recent years, My Olive Tree has—through people like you—planted thousands of olive trees in the Negev Desert! Yet, Isaiah 35:1 says that the desert will bloom like a rose, and olive trees are just the beginning…we are ready for the next step! We’re ready to plant grapevines in the Negev!
With the support from the people of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture, My Olive Tree is able to bring not only beauty and jobs to Israel, but also fulfill prophecy. Support from Israel, and people like you, mean we’re able to expand—not only planting more, but also a wider variety of species!
As David Ben-Gurion said, “It is in the Negev that the people of Israel will be tested… for only with a united effort of volunteering people and planning and implementing… will we accomplish the great mission of populating the wilderness and bringing it to flourish. The effort will determine the fate of the State of Israel and the standing of our people in the history of mankind.”
Bringing life to the Negev—and all of Israel—is vital! All around Israel are nations which pose a threat to her, and one of the major ways her enemy is trying to stop her is by burning her life, ruining her air; bringing about fire and destruction.
By planting olive trees, grapes vines, and all sorts of life-giving plants…we’re answering the call of God’s Word—protecting Israel and her people. In this hour, the ability of Israel to make life in the desert and be self-sustaining is crucial…and that’s why giving a gift which brings jobs, hope, life, and beauty is so important!
Let us show the people of Israel we remember them and want them to succeed! Let us be sure to give the tools and life to ensure their lives and sustainability!