The Bible records show the use of the camel for more than 4000 years as an animal that could help carry people and loads of things. These animals are specially designed by God to live where there is much sand. Their feet are so wide and have a special design that aids them in walking easily over miles of soft sand.
The camel can live on a few dry twigs and very little water for many days. Now days we can drive in the desert with cars, or fly over the deserts. There are still places where the best way to travel is by camel. Riding a camel is quite an experience that takes getting used to. In the zoo, we rode one. It felt like we swayed a lot from side to side.
The camel family includes those with two humps (Bactrian) and one hump (Dromedary). Llama's, alpaca's, and guanaco's are also in the camel family.
Most people think the hump on the camel is full of water but it is a great conserver of water. It does not need an extra supply. The camel can go for a week in a very hot desert without drinking water. During cooler winter months, it can go six months without drinking. The hump is really a place for storing fat instead of water. This fat is it's stored energy.
As the camel's body starts to dry out, a hollow area can be seen behind its ribs. People who own camels get used to looking at the hollow spot behind the ribs. The picture I drew has a camel that has a nice hollow. Maybe he is getting thirsty.
When camels finally drink, they can take in an enormous amount. They can drink as many as 35 gallons of water. They can guzzle all of it down their long necks in less than six minutes. A really thirsty camel can drink 50 gallons in one day. Imagine how Rebekah felt after dipping water from the well for the camels of Abrahamís servant. Just one camel's supply of 50 gallons would have me ready to take a nap. She was a very sweet generous lady to offer to do it all for this stranger. That was just the sign this servant had asked for to help him know what wife to pick for his master's son Isaac. (Genesis 24)
Camels are very picky about taking in very clean water. They won't even drink if they see dirt in the water. I imagine a little contamination in that much quantity could make a difference in their health. God has given them wisdom to avoid contaminated water. Since most of the water in deserts is found in the bottom of deep wells, the camel depends on people to get the water for them. The people need the camel to help transport them and their things. When it rains, the camel might run away because he doesn't need his owner to find water anymore. Some camels come back when the rain quits but most never do on their own. People and camels need each other in the desert where it almost never rains. Camels can carry as much weight as heavy as themselves. People can heap a pile of things onto the camels back and he will carry it.
Camels know ways to cool themselves. They will turn their bodies with their front end toward the sun. On cold days, they turn their sides to the sun.
In many places, camels hair is used to make clothing. During the summer the camel looses a lot of hair. The nomads gather it and weave it into cloth. Some people even eat their camels and use the skin for making tents and clothing.
Sometimes the camel has a nasty temper. When they decide they do not like someone, they may carry a grudge for years. The teeth on the camel can make terrible wounds on the surprised owner. One remedy is for the owner to let the camel angrily chew up his coat. This seems to calm the animal down.
The eyes and nose of the camel are specially designed. The eyes have two sets of windows that pull over the eye during sand storms. There are two sets of eyelashes to brush away the flying sand. The nose is slit shaped and full of hairs to keep sand out.
The skeleton of the camel looks like some of the dinosaurs pictures. The long skinny legs are able to fold up while the camel rests on the ground. Funny looking knee patches develop like calluses where they rest on their leqags.
Jesus talked about the rich man and how hard it is for him to enter heaven. He said it was like a camel trying to go through the eye of a needle. Perhaps Jesus was standing near a little gate to the city and watching a camel owner trying to get inside after the huge main gates had been closed. This tiny gate into the city was called the eye of the needle. The camel was too tall to enter standing up. He had to have everything off the saddle, the saddle off, and he would have to wriggle through on his knee pads.
Rich people have everything they need and more than they need. They do not have to depend on anyone for anything. They like the respect they get when they have nice things. There is no real deep need for much of anything. However inside they feel empty. A rich man came to Jesus and asked what he should do to be saved. When Jesus asked him to get rid of his load by selling and giving his things away, he went away sadly because he liked having many things. It was too hard for him to go through the eye of the needle like the camel with everything off his back and going on his knees. It was to hard to let go of all the things he worked so hard to get.
Some people spend all their time playing computer games, or listening to rock music, or gambling. It is too hard for them to stop playing their time away. They are afraid they will get too bored. All the precious time is wasted that they could spend reading Bible stories or that they could spend on their knees talking to their FOREVER friend Jesus. They are like the rich man and walk sadly away from the richest treasure of all, ETERNAL LIFE. Jesus is standing by willing to enable us to overcome the world. He is able to do the impossible in our lives. There was hope for the wealthy man, he did not have to turn away sadly. Jesus was ready to help Him. He is ready to help you. Just give your heart to Him and follow His suggestions asking Him for help.
Matthew 19:23 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
19:24 And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
19:25 When his disciples heard [it], they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
19:26 But Jesus beheld [them], and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
19:29 And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
19:30 But many [that are] first shall be last; and the last [shall be] first.
Story and illustration by Dr. Rose