In the hot arid climate of Israel, you become very aware of quenching thirst and you live life in ancient Israel! When you are on tour, you will see the normal sodas, teas, coffee, etc that you see anywhere else to help you stay hydrated. What did they drink in Israel?
While you might just think water and wine, this was not the case. There were several different thing to drink in Israel that they enjoyed to quench their thirst.
Water as a Drink in Israel
As with all humans, water was the most important drink in Israel. In a desert, water is like gold! Even today, Israelites are known for getting the extra mile out of every drop, using water reclamation, desalination, and other water processes to stretch their water resources.
Water in ancient Israel was collected from Rivers (like the Jordan River), as well as wells and cisterns. Several Bible stories are set at wells, as they were so important to be near. Joseph was thrown into a well by his brothers before being sold into slavery. Moses met his wife at a well after fleeing Pharaoh. Jesus met the woman at the well at a… well. It is also used as an illustration point in many verses, speaking of wells, cisterns, and springs.
Water could be dangerous to drink if not collected from a safe source. Bacteria growing could lead to a horrible death, so a good well or fresh spring was very important.
Today, water is still an important and vital part of Israeli culture. Some tours even mix in visiting a water facility with their normal Biblical touring sites for knowledge to take back to their home country.
Milk as a Drink in Israel
Yes, people drank milk! It was only during birthing season, instead of regularly like we are used to today. It was also mostly sheep and goat’s milk but sometimes it would be a cow or camel if you had access to one, though typically that was reserved for the wealthier who would own such animals.
The milk was also not the tall, cold glass of milk you dunk a cookie in. It was instead sour milk, thick and like a thin yogurt almost.
One of the things that some find very interesting is that in Israel, milk is not sold in gallons or cartons, but instead is sold in bags! It is mostly now cow’s milk and is no longer seasonal, of course.
Beer and Wine
Fermented drinks are not new to modern society. The oldest evidence of beer in Israel goes back to the Neolithic era in Carmel. The Bible also speaks of “strong drink” and wine throughout the old and new testaments.
Wine was very heavily consumed. In some estimations, it was consumed at a rate of 1 liter daily. Since it was fermented, it helped preserve fruit juices and was a good source of calories.
Wine was mostly made from grapes, which grow well in the Mediterranean climate. More rarely, wine was made from other fruit such as figs and pomegranates. The importance of this drink is still made evident by the many wine presses found during archeological digs throughout the country.
There are several wineries that are available to wine taste at on tour. You can taste wine grapes from the same hills the Bible speaks of wine from. You will definitely enjoy every drink in Israel!
We look forward to welcoming you to Israel very soon! Contact your Immanuel Tours Tour Operator to start planning your tour today!