Posted by: cindybythesea | November 21, 2013

The Harvest is Ripe – part 9

     Olives

By the start of the third week, we had finished most of the grapes and now had our chance at picking olives. For three days, we worked in an olive grove near Shiloh. It was an interesting process which consisted of picking from the lower branches and shaking or striking the upper branches with long poles in order to coax the olives from the tree. Large nets were placed around the base of the trees in order to capture the olives as they fell. From there they were picked up, poured from the nets in to bins and then loaded on to trucks.  In a way I liked picking olives better than grapes, at least, with olives I was not in danger of losing a finger!

It was at the olive grove there in Shiloh that I found a good-sized piece of pottery similar to those I had seen when we visited the ancient site of the tabernacle.  I had just sat down to have my lunch (PB &J in a pita)  when, I noticed it  –  right there on top of the ground next to where I was sitting.  I was so excited!  Obviously, the camp surrounding the tabernacle extended for miles around and my new-found piece of pottery was evidence of just that. Judging from its look, it most likely dates back to the same period and is similar in size and style to ones in the photo below.

I was doing some research on olive trees and do you know that they can live to be hundreds, if not thousands of years old?  Some of the trees in the garden of Gethsemane are said to date back two, maybe even three thousand years.  Amazing!

I didn’t know (or perhaps had not realized) that there are two types of olives. Table olives for eating (both black and green) and olives used for making oil. The type we were picking would be pressed in to oil. And, olive trees thrive better in shallow rocky soil than they do in rich. Interesting! Has something to do with the structure of their root system, I’m told – perfectly suited to the hot, dry conditions of the middle-East.   The olive tree is also the national tree for the state of Israel and according to the Bible – the symbol for Israel herself.

“The Lord called you (Israel) a thriving olive tree ….”  Jeremiah 11:16

As we are all well aware, Israel (like the olive) is being hard pressed. Pressed by the international community to give up much of the land (Judea and Samaria) on which these good crops of grapes and olives are grown. And, while they greatly need our prayers and support, what the world does not realize (but, soon will)  – it is in the pressing of the olives and the crushing of the grapes that the best wine and oil comes forth.

“The time will come says the Lord, when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with new wine”.  Amos 9:13

Amen and amen!

* Next and final in this series – part 10 – Jerusalem!

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper who love thee!  Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy

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