Desert Water
Norman Vincent Peale


Let me tell you about one of my favorite personalities, whose life teaches pre-eminently how to reach goals.

I met one of the world's great positive thinkers in the wilderness of Judea, where, in the long ago, John the Baptist preached.  His name is Musa Alami and he has made the desert to blossom as the rose--a desert that in all the history of the world had never blossomed before.  He succeeded because he believed that he could, and he kept at it until he did, which, of course, is the way you succeed at anything.

Musa, an Arab man, was educated at Cambridge, went back to Palestine where he became a well-to-do man--well-to-do, that is, by Middle Eastern standards.  Then, in political turmoil, he lost everything, including his home.

He went beyond Jordan to the edge of Jericho.  Stretching away on either side was the great, bleak, arid desert of the Jordan valley.  In the distance to the left, shimmering in the hot haze, loomed the mountains of Judea, and to the right the mountains of Moab.

With the exception of a few oases, nothing had ever been cultivated in this hot and weary land, and everyone said that nothing could be, for how could you bring the water to it?

To dam the Jordan River for irrigation was too expensive and, besides, there was no money to finance such a project.

"What about underground water?" asked Musa Alami.  Long and loud they laughed.  Whoever heard of such a thing?  There was no water under that hot, dry desert.  Ages ago it had been covered by Dead Sea water; now the sand was full of salt, which added further to the aridity.

He had heard of the amazing rehabilitation of the California desert through subsurface water.  He decided that he could find water here also.  All the old-time Bedouin sheiks said it couldn't be done; government officials agreed, and so, solemnly, did the famous scientists from abroad.  There was absolutely no water there.  That was that.

But Musa was unimpressed.  He thought there was.  A few poverty-stricken refugees from the nearby Jericho Refugee Camp helped him as he started to dig.  With well-drilling equipment?  Not on your life.  With pick and shovel.  Everybody laughed as this dauntless man and his ragged friends dug away day after day, week after week, month after month.  Down they went, slowly, deep into the sand into which no man since creation had plumbed for water.

For six months they dug; then one day the sand became wet and finally water, life-giving water, gushed forth.  The Arabs who had gathered round did not laugh or cheer; they wept.  Water had been found in the ancient desert!

A very old man, sheik of a nearby village, heard the amazing news.  He came to see for himself.  "Musa," he asked, "have you really found water?  Let me see it and feel it and taste it."

The old man put his hand in the stream, splashed it over his face, put it on his tongue.  "It is sweet and cool," he said.  "It is good water."  Then, placing his aged hands on the shoulder of Musa Alami, he said, "Thank God.  Now, Musa, you can die."  It was the simple tribute of a desert man to a positive thinker  who did what everyone said could not be done.

Now, several years later, Musa Alami has fifteen wells supplying a ranch nearly three miles long and two miles wide.  He raises vegetables, bananas, figs, citrus fruit, and boys.  In his school he is growing citizens of the future, farmers and technicians, experts in the trades.  Imitating Musa, others have also dug until forty thousand acres are under cultivation and the green is spreading over the sands.

I asked this amazing man what kept him going, kept him believing when everyone said it couldn't be done.  "There was no alternative.  It had to be done," he said, then added, "God helped me."

As the twilight turned the mountains of Moab and the Judean hills to red and gold, I sat watching a huge stream of water gush from the heart of the desert.  And as it splashed into a deep, wide pool, it seemed to say, "It can be done, it can be done!"  So, don't let your difficulties get you down and do not believe those croakers who say you cannot do it.  Remember Musa Alami, positive thinker of the wilderness of Judea.

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