Historic Jesus
Grass/Lilies of the Field

The climate of Palestine provides for short, but luxuriant growing seasons that are linked to periods of rain and to the presence of dew, as well as longer dry periods when all annual plant life withers unless irrigated. The winter is the season of rains and dew. The rains come at the beginning and the end of the winter season, thus they were once called the "former " and "latter" rains. The earth, though dry, is fertile so that when the rains fall there is an almost overnight covering of grass and wildflowers. In his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called these wildflowers the "lilies of the field." They were probably a profusion of lilies, anemones, irises, narcissus, hyacinths, and cyclamens, which, after the rains came, covered the fields along with grass. The usual months for the rains are October November and April-May.

Sometimes during the rainy seasons, however, a sirocco or khamsin wind can occur. This harsh, dry wind comes straight from the heart of the desert, and it can blow without pause for from three days to two weeks. This wind dehydrates everything it touches, overnight withering the grass and the "lilies of the field." The highest recorded temperatures in that area have occurred during the sirocco wind, which parches everything.

Jesus used the sudden and abundant burst of beautiful vegetation, followed by the searing effect of the sirocco, to illustrate the transitory nature of life and the loving provision of the Father who cares for people, who are of so much greater value than grass and flowers (Matt. 6.28-30).