Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant
and shall enjoy the fruit.
I’ve saved the best for last! Friends, prophecy is being fulfilled in the West Bank! The Bible calls that area Judea and Samaria, and in case you have not been following along, I was privileged to tour Samaria a few days ago. (You’ll find that information by scrolling to previous blog posts.)
In Jeremiah 31, God professes His love for Israel and promises to restore her. Throughout history, Israel has been beaten down by enemies and hated by the world, yet the God of Israel has loved her with an everlasting love! Doesn’t that give great hope to those of us who worship the God of Israel!
Take a moment to read Jeremiah 31:1-6…I’ll wait! (Hint: look for what He says about Samaria!)
Did you see it in verse 5? The Old Testament tells us of the fine vineyards and wonderful “fruit of the vine.” In fact, when Moses sent spies into the Promised Land to check it out, they came back with grape clusters so large they had to be carried on poles between two men! Wow!
Well, once the Jews were driven from the land, it suffered and grapevines ceased to yield their fruit. Thus, God’s promise in Jeremiah 31:5 is very poignant! He says that, once more, vineyards will be planted on the hills of Samaria, and they will enjoy the fruit.
I am most certainly not a wine connoisseur, but from what I understand, wine has made a comeback of historic proportions. On our tour of Samaria, we stopped at Tura Winery for a wine tasting. I told you I’m no wine connoisseur, so my taste was so minute it can hardly be measured. Nonetheless, we were told that, though grapes and the wine itself takes about 15 years to mature, winemaking at Tura Winery began in 2003, began winning medals in year 4, and has not stopped since!
We met the Dutch-Jewish owners of Tura Winery, who acknowledged that it was a miracle of God that their winemaking has flourished. In 2003 they produced 1,200 bottles. Today they produce almost 100,000 bottles per year! God has fulfilled the promise of Jeremiah 31:5 and Amos 9:14!
But, I want to tell you about something even more astounding! We also visited HaYovel in the wine country of Samaria. What a fantastic place, filled with Christians who love the Lord their God, and love Israel! HaYovel is a Christian ministry fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 61:5, which says (in part):
…foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers.
I have hardly seen people more passionate about what they do! These Christians joyfully work the fields for grape farmers in Israel. The ministry has built a camp environment, complete with dorms, kitchen, laundry facilities, meeting space and more, and they invite others to come harvest grapes with them. It is tremendously family-oriented, and we witnessed many entire families there for 3-6 weeks to join in the harvest.
They share worship and devotionals together, as well as fellowship both in the fields and in camp. I was told that it is common for a group of musically-inclined people to take their instruments to the fields to provide worship as they work. They also provide tours of various places in Israel 1-2 days/week when work crews come.
If you have interest in a unique, Christ-centered, prophecy-fulfilling trip to Israel, I encourage you to consider HaYovel! It is a great opportunity for service!
Below is a very short video of camp I took to give you just a glimpse of what the place looks like. It is clean and well-kept, and has ample space for families.
That’s it from Samaria, but the tour is not done! I spent time in Jerusalem on Saturday and will share from the Southern steps of Temple Mount, the Western Wall, and the Garden Tomb in days to come. Stay with me! Shalom!