Aug 17, 2022
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On Tuesday, the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) reached 32 centimeters (13 inches) below its maximum capacity, its highest level in 30 years. 

The water level is now 0.32 meters (13 inches) below the upper red line, or 209.12 meters (686 feet) below sea level. The upper red line is 208.8 meters (685 feet) below sea level. The lake — the Sea of Galilee is a lake — is now 3.88 meters above the lower red line, the level at which water quality declines and causes damage to the ecological balance.

Excess waters flowing south

Should the rains of blessing continue, the Israel Water Authority will open the Deganya dam at the southern end of the Kineret, allowing the water to flow into the Jordan River. The last time the dam, which enables excess waters to flow south down the Jordan River towards the Dead Sea, was open was 1992.

This has been a dramatic improvement over the last few years. On April 4, 2016, the lake level was 3.29 meters (11 feet) lower than today. The level measured at that time was 212.41 meters (697 feet) below sea level or 3.61 meters (12 feet) below the upper red line. Israel suffered from a five-year drought, and 2018 was one of the driest in the last 100 years. March 2018 was the lake’s lowest point in water income since 1927.

An additional month to pray for rain

Rain in Israel is a reflection of the relationship between the Jews and God.

If then, you obey the commandments that I enjoin upon you this day, loving Hashem your God and serving Him with all your heart and soul, I will grant the rain for your land in season, the early rain and the late. Deuteronomy 11:13

The bounty o water may result from the extra prayers this year which had a built-in extra month of prayer for rain. A prayer for rain is inserted into the thrice-daily prayers during the autumn holiday of Sukkoth and extends until the springtime holiday of Passover. This year is a leap year, and as such, an extra month of Adar was added to the Hebrew calendar before Purim. This means that there was an additional month to pray for rain.

Israel’s largest lake

Once Israel’s primary water source,  the lake now supplies approximately 10% of Israel’s drinking water needs.

The Kinneret is Israel’s largest lake and the lowest freshwater lake on Earth. The lake is fed partly by underground springs, but its primary source is the Jordan River, which flows through it from north to south. The lake’s name comes from the Bible, where it appears as the “sea of Kinneret” in Numbers 34:11 and Joshua 13:27. The name may originate from the Hebrew word kinnor (“harp” or “lyre”) because of its shape.