Their Vine and Their Fig Tree

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Their Vine and Their Fig Tree

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I recently watched a short documentary about a man named David Bamberger, and his ranch he calls Selah.

Mr. Bamberger was born into poverty, but gained a respect for caring for nature from his mother and the Amish he knew growing up.

After making a fortune when Church’s chicken sold (a business he was involved in starting), he bought 5,500 acres of over-grazed land in Texas. He deliberately bought the worst piece of land he could find so he could restore it. By habitat restoration, he was successful, and his methods are now being studied by others.

The land was barren, and no water was available when he took it over. He tried drilling seven different wells 500 feet deep, and not one of them produced any water. The well driller told him there was a huge cavern under the land, but it was dry as a bone. The water coming to the land was running off and never sinking into the limestone aquifer below.

He and a crew removed low growing cedars that were scattered across the landscape and replaced them with native grasses. Two and one-half years into the project a spring appeared that had not been there before. As he continued the process, more springs began to show up. Over time it became apparent that the root system of the grasses was trapping the water and allowing the underground aquifer to fill up. Once the aquifer was filled, springs began to pop up in the landscape.

Now 50 years later, his acreage, Selah (which he explained means to stop, look around you and reflect) has a lake, streams, springs and a filled aquifer. His motivation is that we are required to be good stewards and then to share what we have with others. He has a foundation set up to continue with what he has created and to educate others on how to replicate his success even after he is gone. His methods are already being copied with success in other parts of Texas.

His story made me think of how I often meditate about being able to restore our beautiful country to the pristine state it was in when our ancestors first came here. I have read stories of the streams being so full that a person could easily get all the fish they needed for their families. The deer and the antelope were numerous as well as the buffalo. Native grasses and flowers in the west astounded the first settlers with their beauty. I believe the knowledge is available, but it's not being widely used to bring back much of what has been lost. We would rather build huge dams and redirect water and other processes that seem to develop their own set of problems over the longterm. As Mr. Bamberger stated, his methods are miniscule in cost compared to what governments have done to provide water to areas deprived of it—and more successful.

"He shall judge between many peoples,
And rebuke strong nations afar off;
They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore.

"But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree,
And no one shall make them afraid;
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken." (Micah 4:3-4 Micah 4:3-4 [3] And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. [4] But they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; and none shall make them afraid: for the mouth of the LORD of hosts has spoken it.
American King James Version×
)

It will take time to reach a point where everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree. It has long been my dream to be a part of the restoration that allows everyone to have their own little piece of the world. It took Mr. Bamberger many years to reclaim where he bought—but with only 5,500 acres, he has created a beautiful place where young people come to learn, take boats out into the lake that was not there before, and admire the beauty. He even supplies Austin with some of its water. The views in the film were of verdant grasses, trees by still waters, flowing streams that come from underground springs to trickle into waterfalls and deer roaming. Open fields were filled with blue bonnet flowers and native grasses.

Imagine being able to give everyone their own little piece of land with a home, a grape vine and fig tree. Perhaps a passive way to trap the heat from the sun will provide warmth, and gentle breezes from the trees will keep things cool in summer. I imagine a time of no power lines or billboards blocking the pristine view. Electricity may still be used, but I think we will harness other means or at least bury the cable.

A little vegetable plot provides much produce and a couple of cows or goats produce milk and cheese and butter. It does not take many chickens to provide eggs, and fruit trees can provide much of the fruit needed for a family. This can be done on as little as five acres. With 10 acres a family could produce enough to even barter for other needs.

With God as teacher, conservation will be implemented at its utmost. 

I hope someday to see all of our Southwest restored to the beauty that Mr. Bamberger has achieved in his 5,500 acres. We don’t know how God will achieve it, but I hope to be a part of that restoration here and all over the world, as well as a messenger of the true way to lasting peace and happiness.

"The wilderness and the wasteland shall be glad for them, and the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose" (Isaiah 35:1 Isaiah 35:1The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
American King James Version×
).