I find that sometimes when I am constantly thinking of something, maybe something I watched on TV or read in a book or something someone told me, something related to that thing comes up in my own life as a strange coincidence. An experience similar to this happened yesterday.

Let me quote a story I read in Norman Vincent Peale’s the Power of the Plus Factor first.”

” One of the most remarkable men I ever met was a native of Lebanon, Musa Alami. He had been educated in England, his family had been quite well off until in one of the disturbances that periodically convulse Lebanon, they lost everything.( Here I must tell you , that Musa Alami belonged to ¬†well reputed family from Jerusalem). Musa Alami found his way to the bleak desert country of the Jordan River fallen not far from Jericho.

This sun-scorched land had probably not changed much since the days of John the Baptist. No crops could grow because of lack of water. There were no funds or equipment to dam the river Jordan. But somehow Musa Alami, who had read of successful irrigation in other areas using subsurface water, became convinced that there might be water underneath the burning sands. And he announced, that he was going to dig for it.

Jeers and scornful laughter greeted this announcement. The old Bedouins( natives of the area) pointed out that the desert had been there from time immemorial. The water of the Dead Sea had once covered the region; the sand itself was full of salt. Musa Alami was a fool, or perhaps a mad man. And it wasn’t only the Bedouins who laughed. Government officials and scientists from abroad were equally scornful. No water was there. No water could be found there.

Nevertheless, aided by a poverty stricken refugees from the nearby Jericho refugee camp, Musa Alami started to dig.

With well-drilling equipment ? With steam shovel or earth removers ? No. He and his motley crew dug by hand, with pick and shovel. Down they went under the blazing sun. Day after day. Deeper and deeper, while onlookers jeered. Down they went, this dauntless man and his ragged friends, week after week.

What kept them going ? Hope kept them going. And with hope they had perseverance, just plain persistence.

I am sure it was the Plus Factor.

One day , six months after they started digging, the sand became damp. And a little deeper it was wet. Finally water, fresh water, began to fill the hole. And Musa Alami and his friends did not laugh or shout or cheer. The wept. An ancient Bedouin man said, ‘ Musa, now I can die. I’ve seen water come from the desert.'”

In those lands where great streams of water gushed out of the desert, Musa grew crops and fruits and truly made the land a land that flowed with milk and honey.

I have a friend who works with me who is from Palestine. I asked her yesterday, if she had heard of Musa Alami. A few moments of silence followed, Then she asked me, why do you ask?

I told her, I have been inspired by this man’s story for at least 15 years, ever since I first read Norman Vincent Peale’s book . She told me Musa Alami belonged to her mother’s family. He was an uncle of her mothers’. Her mother and father had planned to move to Jericho right after they got married, so they could stay near the UNRWA offices there. And so they had seen the plantations and the water themselves.

I guess for me, it was a more a moment of shock and surprise too. The very person whom I used to read about to my girls when they were little now seems to be someone who I might have met, if he was alive now through my friend. Do you believe in coincidences ?