Another term for steppe is arabah, which is also translated as desert (Genesis 36:24): "the country that was barren [midbar] and inaccessible shall be joyful, and the wilderness [arabah] shall rejoice" (Isaiah 35:1). Land that is devoid of water is referred to as yeshimon, while land that is barren is referred to as chorbah. The word paradise is derived from paradise, which means "a pleasant place." In the Old Testament, paradise is used to describe a garden or orchard planted by humans (see Genesis 2:8).
Paradise can also refer to a sacred place of worship, where God resides. This sacred space is described in the Book of Exodus as a place where God will dwell among his people. According to this verse, God will walk among the Israelites and they will be his people, if they are willing to forsake their foreign gods and trust in him alone.
The New King James Version translates this passage, "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation," which suggests that those who follow Jesus Christ will become divine beings themselves.
In the Old Testament, paradise is often associated with God's presence, especially after he has had sexual relations with Eve in the Garden of Eden. After her expulsion from the garden, she lies down in the desert and dreams a dream about eating fruit from a tree in paradise.
Our deserts might be actual or symbolic, but the Bible teaches us that they can also be the locations where God eventually discovers us and beckons us back to life in him. Many chapters in the Bible refer to real deserts and wildernesses, but desert imagery is also frequently used to reflect on our relationship with God.
For example, after Moses leads the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the desert for forty years, he receives a promise from God that he will always be found there. He will not lose track of his people, even though they have wronged him by refusing to believe in him as their leader.
Also, Jesus tells his disciples that if they remain in the world, they will never find rest, but that he has come so that they may have peace. This implies that where we are at any given moment in time is not necessarily where we will stay forever. No matter where we are, whether in the depths of despair or joyously dancing around a campfire, God says that he will always find us.
Finally, the desert is where God reveals himself to his people and calls them back to himself. The Israelites wandered through the desert for almost two centuries before entering the land of Canaan. During this time, they never saw anyone else who had survived the terrible ordeal of living in the desert. It is believed that many of them died during these years, but some were chosen by God to survive and enter the promised land.
Wadi is an Arabic term that, in general, refers to a dry river bed. The similar occurrence is referred to as nahal in Hebrew. The term appears 11 times in the Bible (according to the translation).
Wadis are usually dry except when it rains hard enough for water to pool in them. Then they can get flooded like a river. When this happens, animals that live in the wet areas near the wadi may be trapped against their will by the rising water. Humans sometimes go to wadis to look for gold but most often do so illegally.
The Bible mentions wadis several times. Here are some examples: "And he led him into the desert and made him sit down; then he put food before him." - Exodus 16:4 (NIV) "So he made his son go up to the top of the mountain with a stone in his hand, saying, 'If I find not a place for us in the sea, I will make a hole in the rock for our refuge.' And while he was sleeping, he took the stone in his hand and went away.
- Psalm 118:17 (NIV) "There they were, buried in tar from head to foot; not one of them could be found anymore." - Job 18:15-16 (NIV)