RAIN, BARE FEET AND BIBLES

If you’re a UK resident you may find it hard to sing the praises of rain, given the evidence of recent weeks. But an interesting good news story has emerged that involves rain.

My Geography lessons at school involved mapping the coal fields of the British Isles, including those of south Wales. Power for industry and domestic use relied on coal. Hydroelectricity is much older than I realised but came to the fore in the 20th century as coal power declined. As a family we saw examples of it in Wales where lakes and mountains and attendant high rainfall provided perfect conditions for pumped storage hydropower.

And it’s in Wales that hydropower is having an unusual role in the preservation of Bibles. The very first Bible in the Welsh language is among a collection of rare Bibles housed in Snowdonia. The Bibles, however, are in danger from damp and the National Trust is using a pico hydro turbine to protect the Bibles through heat and humidity control in a sustainable and effective method that uses the benefits of the local damp environment.

In 1800 Mary Jones, a 15 year old Welsh girl walked 26 miles – barefoot – across the Snowdonia countryside to obtain a copy of the Bible. She skirted lakes, plodded up mountainsides and trudged footpaths in her quest, which ended successfully in Bala.

A hundred years later the Welsh Revival occurred and people were eager to worship and learn Bible truths. A further century on and many of the chapels have closed and the Bible in Wales, as in so many other places, has become less known and less thumbed than in previous generations.

Changes in industry, management of landscape and Bible knowledge have altered over the centuries. The good news is that the Bible, as God’s word, is unchanging – whether in storage or in daily use, whether valued for its heritage or for its message.

 

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