Saturday, February 18, 2006

Methuselah lives

If you have a green thumb or just have an interest in all things Biblically-oriented, you'll like this story.

You thought it was a bit odd for me to name my laptop's hard drive "Lazarus," did you? Frankly, I thought it was a perfectly appropriate name, seeing as how the drive died, came back to life (just long enough for me to back everything up) and then died again. Well, just so you'll know, I'm not alone in naming "things."

Fifteen months ago, Elain Solowey, a researcher at the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies in Israel, named a tree he had successfully grown from a seed. What did he name it? "Methuselah." And what's so special about this seed/tree? Well, it's "the oldest seed to ever produce a viable young sapling." How old was it? Two thousand years old, give or take fifty years!

In the time of Jesus and the apostles, the Judean date palm tree was quite common throughout all the the Jordan Valley, from near the Sea of Galilee in the north to the Dead Sea in southern Judea. Those which grew on the northern shore of the Dead Sea, just east of Jerusalem, were considered particularly good. Today, date palm trees are still commonly grown in the Jordan Valley, but what you may not know is that the majority of the trees there are imports from California! Which makes the news of growing a date palm tree from a seed dating back to about 70 A.D. all the more special. Read all about it.
"Those who do what is right will grow like a palm tree. . . . When they get old, they will still bear fruit" (Psalm 92:12,14a)