Lebanon Spring of Life: Water

“In one drop of water are found

all the secrets of all the oceans;

in one aspect of You

are found all the aspects of existence.”

Gebran Kahlil Gebran

Lebanese water

Beauty in the nature of water ~ Lebanon

Spring of Life: Water

 

Lebanon Mountain Water

Lebanon Mountain Falls

Water has always held a wide and deep fascination for me. I believe it is the same for most people, even if most of these most do not realize it.

We stand in awe in front of a waterfall. We come to a standstill at the shore of an ocean, our eyes wandering in its blue-greenness, and our souls sighing in peace.

The sight of waves resonates strangely inside us. The ripples of water in a river tickle our spirits refreshingly. The view and scent of a lake have no less comforting effect on and in us.

Lebanon water sea view

Mediterranean Coastal view ~ Lebanon

And in all of these, we feel the hidden mystery with a sense of utmost respect and… belonging. Because, initially and after all, we do belong to that intriguing source of life.

We might deny it or disregard it as insignificant, yet 70% of our body acknowledges it undeniably for being just that: water.

Lebanese water

Faraya Falls by Abdo Medawar

Hence, when next time you stand by an ocean, a lake, a river, or a fall, and you sigh inwardly or openly, know that it is the majority of your body that is connecting, feeling “home”, and reacting smoothly and blissfully.

In its proximity to its source of life, your being relaxes in an almost mystic way, as waves of peace embrace your soul.

On your next trip to a body of water, take a moment to breath in, your eyes closed, and feel it in its entirety, acknowledge it, embrace it, and honor it…. for that water is the spring of life.

Humans and water

When you drink water in sufficient quantity, you are not just quenching your thirst or tempering down an external heat. You are renewing 70% of your body in a cleansing process that many call detoxing yet it is more than that. Think of it as the rinsing of your clothes with clean water.

Lake Anane: Water

Lake Anane, Jezzine ~ Lebanon

Water is therapeutic to the body and the soul, whether we drink it or just stand by it, admiring it, and inhaling its seen or unseen ripples in the air.

Science has proven it but our forefathers, since the onset of humanity, knew it all along.

Thousands, and maybe millions, of articles have been written about the necessity of drinking water. So I won’t go there nor enter into a repetition of what has been said.

Today, it is about our God-given gift of a most amazing life source that we have been taking for granted, minimizing its essential value, disrespecting its beauty, and dishonoring its love to humanity.

Lebanese water

The beautiful coast of Kessrwan where I lived for 10 years.

Water

A peaceful scene of my years of residence in Rabieh ~ Lebanon

For decades, I lived by the Mediterranean Sea, enjoying the blessing of its proximity, despite the raging war. I rode along its coast back and forth my school, my university, my work and my daily life.

I got to admire it at all time from my windows. I got to sit at my balconies, resting my mind on its beauty, and I got to swim in its water.

An amazing feeling of peace and love that embraces the soul….

water

A catch of my renewed experience in Puidoux-Chexbres, Switzerland.

We, Lebanese, got so used to it that most of us have stopped praising its existence, honoring it, enjoying it and… protecting it.

Not long ago, I had this renewed experience in Switzerland, when I stood hypnotized in awe and divine peace in front of the Lake of Puidoux-Chexbres. It is probably the closest I have come to touch the spiritual divinity on earth.

And yet, in our Lebanon of just 4,035.54 sq miles, we have major Basins, three of which “cover” 45% of the country, in addition to several major lakes, and 40 major streams.

Batroun water

A Lebanese house by the Batroun river

The country is blessed with over 2000 springs, not counting the hundreds of small ones scattered around, the amazing Grotto of Jeita, and the wells throughout the country; a thousand of which are private in the coastal area of Beirut.

And this is what I aim to reveal to you today, from my nation that gets to use only 17% of its water.

May you admire them and May you enjoy them…

May you respect us in our “natural giving” from them, and

May you forgive us in our misuse of them.

Kferzebian body of water

Kferzebian, Lebanon. Photo by my good friend and photography artist Abdo Medawar


Springs of Life in Lebanon


There is something amazing about freedom of speech and expression. We don’t have to follow the academic list.

Hence, I start with the most fascinating body of water existing today in Lebanon: Jeita Grotto!

THE JEITA GROTTO: known as THE CAVE OF WONDERS
Jeita water

Jeita Grotto, a Lebanese national Symbol, made it to the top 14 finalists of the New 7 Wonders of Nature.

Jeita Grotto’s underground river supplies fresh drinking water to over a million residents.

Jeita water and The Gardian of Times

The Guardian of Time by sculptor Tony Farah at the outside of Jeita Grotto

The Jeita Grotto is more than a natural wonder and a Lebanese National Symbol. It plays an important economical role in the country, and also culturally and socially.

Situated some 11 miles from Beirut, in the locality of Jeita, its body of water extends to the River of Adonis in Nahr El-Kalb by the ancient city of Byblos.

The Grotto is formed of 2 interconnected natural caves of about 5.6 miles, several chambers, and lower and upper galleries. Nature and times have allied since prehistory to create awe-striking works of art of fascinating stalactites, one of which is the largest known to the world.

Jeita water

Jeita Grotto receives countless of tourists and locals along the year. Exquisite classical music events are performed in its heart on occasions, having hosted international reputable artists.

 Jeita Grotto water

Socially, economically and culturally, Jeita Grotto is of major significance to Lebanon and its people

 

THE ASSI-ORONTES BASIN & RIVER
Lebanese water

The Asi-Orontes is one of our main Basins. It is located in the north of Lebanon. Its trans-boundary river outflows an estimated of 415 million m3/year surface water into Syria.

Water

El-Assi River, North of Lebanon

Water Rafting at Assi-River

Rafting is one of the water sports locals and tourists alike enjoy in Al Asi River.

AL HASBANI BASIN & RIVER
Al Hasbani water

Al-Hasbani is another of our major Basins. It’s located in the southeast of Lebanon. Its trans-boundary River, a tributary of the Jordan river, outflows into Palestine/Israel at an estimated 160 million m3/year.

 

Al Hasbani water

Culturally, Lebanese families make it a point to enjoy good weather and Sunday lunches in restaurants by the lakes and rivers. We love the sound of streaming rivers during our meals.  Al-Hasbani is no different than most of our lakes and rivers in affording that cultural pleasure to both locals and tourists.

AL-LITANI BASIN & RIVER
Al litani water

Al-Litani Basin is located in the east and south of Lebanon. Its river has a total length of 170 km, being the longest in Lebanon. It flows entirely within Lebanon and into its sea. Its annual water is estimated at 475 million m3. Al-Litani River is seen here with a view of the Mount Hermon.

THE GREAT RIVER: NAHR EL-KABIR

Among the remaining major coastal river basins in Lebanon, the Great River of Nahr El-Kabir is to be cited. Located in the North of Lebanon, it forms the frontier with Syria, and both countries share it as it flows down the Mediterranean Sea.

Al Kabir River Basin water

Al Kabir River Basin

Al Kabir River Basin water

Nahr El-Kabir: The Great River

ADONIS RIVER & AFQUA WATERFALLS

Adonis water river

Adonis valley river water

Valley of Adonis River, Photo By OadrienvalentineG

A river of Phoenician Mythology of the god of love, rebirth and beauty, Adonis river streams at 5000 ft from the Afqa huge cavern.

It creates several falls on its way down, passing by a mountainous gorge, and flowing through the town of Nahr Ibrahim to join the Mediterranean sea at the coast.

Adonis / water

The Death of Adonis, by Giuseppe Mazzuoli 1709 ~Hermitage Museum

The Adonis River has come to be known as Nahr Ibrahim for the town it streams through.

February, it takes a blood-red color, which the Phoenicians attributed to their god Adonis’ bloody death at that river. Hence the many temples and shrines still found in the valley of that river.

February, a month of heavy winter rains, witnesses yearly the washing off of the mountains.

Heavy soil streams down the Adonis River from a 5000 ft, turning its water into a dark red color; a work of Mother Nature, which the Phoenicians correlated in a legend to the blood of their god Adonis.

 

AL QAROUN LAKE

Al Qaroun Lake water Al Qaroun water Lake

The Qaraoun Lake of the Beqaa Valley was created in 1959 to receive an annual 420 million m3 of water flowing from the Litani River, generate electricity to 3 main power stations, supply domestic water and provide for irrigation needs of about 68,000 acres of the Beqaa agriculture.

water Lake Qaroun

The Qaraoun Lake is also a praised site for tourists and restaurants.

BAAKLEEN WATERFALLS & RIVER

Baakleen Chouf water falls

Baakleen chouf water falls

BAATARA GORGE AND WATERFALLS

Baatara water falls

Baatara Gorge water

The Baatara gorge sinkhole, a 255 m waterfall in the Mountainous town of Tannourine ~ Lebanon

OUYOUN EL SAMAK: THE EYES OF THE FISH

Ouyoun El Samak water lake

OUYOUN OURGHOUSH
water lake of Ouyoun Ourghoush

Ouyoun Ourghoush ~ Lebanon North

THE BNACH’EH LAKE
Bnachaee water Lake

The artificial lake of Bnach’eh is located in the North of Lebanon, in the locality of Zgharta. A lovely, well sought-after lake with restaurants, paddle-boats and even ducks, geese and swans enjoying the lake!

AL BAROUK WATERFALLS, RIVER & LAKE
Al Barouk water

Al Barouk in the locality of Al-Chouf ~ Lebanon

AL DAMOUR RIVER
Damour water

Al-Damour ~ South of Lebanon

Al Dammour river water

 

SAGHBEEN
Saghbeen water

Saghbeen, West of the Bekaa, receives the Litani River


And Lebanon gets to use 17% only of its water?

water shortageWith that indicative overview of our water natural resources, and my fellow Lebanese will forgive me for having missed all too many here, you might be wondering with us why our nation doesn’t get to use more than 17% of its water.

For decades, our nation has been under duress from the poor quality of provided (or not) service in that regards, adding to the war damages and the pollution in some of our water bodies.

Residential supply of water is rationed for as long as we remember.

water shortageAccording to official figures, the average water availability per day is “22 hours in the North, 10 hours in the Bekaa, 8 hours in the South, and for Beirut-Mount Lebanon 13 hours in winter, but only 2 hours in summer.” (Ministry of Energy and Water, 2012)

Lebanese people pay for their needs of water from water trucks passing by homes on appointments to fill residential tanks on demands. It is a fact that the nation only makes use of 17% of its available water, although..

“As per the Establishment of the Water of Beirut and Mount Lebanon: In Lebanon it rains on average of 8 billion m3 of water, the equivalent of 3 million Olympic swimming pools.”

I got to believe it when recently Lebanese protesters for a nation’s basic right to cleanness got to experience how much water we do actually have in the country…

Water on protestors


And yet….!

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