Searching For Oil In Israel

oil in israel bible
CBS
Could the Bible be a road map to oil riches in Israel?

CBS News Correspondent David Hawkins reports that some folks are betting millions that black gold comes from a higher power.

For inspiration, most oilmen look to geology – not theology – to decide where to drill.

But this isn't Texas.

Zion Oil's John Brown reads from the Bible: "Let him dip his foot in oil."

It's the holy land.

"I asked God for the oil," Brown says. "Now that sounds real complicated to some people, but not to me."

Brown, successful businessman and born-again Christian, says the Bible is a treasure map leading to petroleum reserves promised to three of the twelve Israelite tribes. Though hundreds of failed wells have already been dug in Israel, to Brown, God's word is as good as, well, black gold.

"You're confident you're going to find oil. Do you base that confidence on faith or on science?" Hawkins asked.

"Faith," Brown said. "But science is confirming it. Science is confirming scripture."

Major oil companies abandoned Israel long ago to appease Arab states where they do big business. Though natural gas fields have been discovered off-shore, Israel still imports almost all of its energy needs.

There's an old joke about Moses wandering in the desert for 40 years – only to end up in the one place in the Middle East without any oil. John Brown's heard it a million times, but he believes he's going to have the last laugh.

Brown's $10 million stake in Zion Oil & Gas was put up by Christian evangelists in the U.S. and some Israelis. Despite planning an IPO in the near future, he swears he's not in it for the money. Instead, it's to answer a spiritual calling to fulfill biblical prophesy and help Israel become energy-independent.

Brown told Hawkins that he's "forbidden" to say how much oil he expects to find, but he says "it's going to be a lot."

"What you need to do is once we have the oil is bring the cameras back and look at it," Brown told Hawkins. "Then we can tell you."

"Okay, call us when there's a gusher," Hawkins said.

"Yeah, we'll call you," Brown said.

  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen Smith is a senior editor for CBSNews.com