What started out as a normal day at Biblical Tamar soon changed direction quickly. Dave and I were trimming the date palm trees when a vehicle pulled up to the park. An Israeli man named Yehuda and his girlfriend had decided to drive from Tel Aviv to stay near the Dead Sea. On the way, Yehuda decided to visit Biblical Tamar Park, where we are staying. Soon in our conversation, we learned that he had come here once before more than 25 years ago and met Simcha Pearlmutter. He asked me if I knew a certain song and then began to sing it, but he only knew it in Hebrew and I was unfamiliar with the words. When he told me it was in the Bible, we asked him to join us in the dining hall.
After searching for key words for the song unsuccessfully for a few minutes, he called his son. Yehuda’s son had been at Tamar with him when he visited before, and reminded his father where to find the song in the Bible. Yehuda, excitedly opened my Hebrew Bible to Isaiah 35, and with a smile that lit up the room began to sing. He, however was not content to sing it alone. He made me join in until I could sing it with him and then finally asked Dave to join in the singing as well.
The song contains two verses and they are found in Isaiah 35, verses 1 and 6. We had the most joyful meeting. After singing, we walked with them on a short tour around the park. We took a group photo to remember the day and then parted company. As he left the park, he told us that he and Simcha danced as they sang this song together more than 2 decades ago. As if this were not amazing enough, the organization that now operates and maintains this very place is called Blossoming Rose – words taken from the very same passage contained within the song – Isaiah 35:1! Dave and I will be singing this song every day as we work in the park, expecting this ancient prophecy to one day come to pass.
Is. 35:1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
Is. 35:6b in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.