National Geographic : 1947 Dec
AP from Press Ass'n Water Diverted from the Spring of Dan Helps Make the Desert Bloom A life-giving stream is led from one of the Jordan's sources to a Jewish irrigation project several miles away. Besides nourishing the soil, such efforts often drain swamps and eliminate malaria problems. captured, brought them plagues. With awe they beheld how kine, separated from their young, brought back the Ark to Judean terri tory at the boundaries of Beth Shemesh (I Samuel 6:7-16). Step by step the Philistines were forced back, till swallowed in the limbo of history whence they had so martially emerged. The imprint of their culture did not survive the fall of the Pentapolis of their seacoast cities. The name Palestine, a modernization of Philistia, alone persists as a perpetual re minder both of the promise they had brought with them out of the west and the evanescence of all strength based on arms. On the beach of Gaza I saw a little Arab boy load his donkey and camel with hampers of sand for building purposes in the modern town. An archeologist can hardly refrain from wondering what its ultimate end will be, for these sands cover much of the stuff and story of history. From Dan to Beersheba one is constantly confronted with the dovetailing of the vibrant past with the brittle present. At the somnolent little town of Beersheba, on the border between the Desert and the Sown, water is still pumped from wells, one of which may possibly have been dug in its original form by Abraham. Jewish Pioneers Transform Palestine The largely uninhabited plain and desert of the Negeb, to the south of Beersheba, is being penetrated by Jewish pioneers. They are he roically planting colonies in its painful empti ness. In most of this area, sedentary civiliza tion has never hitherto established itself. Already these pilgrims, who grow trees as affirmations of their prayers, have achieved miracles of transformation in this as in other parts of Palestine.* * See, in the NATIONAL GEOCRAPIIIC MAGAZINE, "Palestine Today," by Francis Chase, Jr., October, 1946; and "American Fighters Visit Bible Lands," by Maynard Owen Williams, March, 1946.