John Brown thinks there’s oil in Israel — the Bible told him so.

Raised Roman Catholic, Brown was a tool-company executive in Michigan and an alcoholic when he became a born-again Christian in 1981. A trip to Israel two years later convinced him that he had a mission: to help Israel counter Arab domination in oil markets by developing its own supply. Brown formed Zion Oil in 2000 and bought rights from the Israeli government to explore a 100,000-acre plot in northern Israel. After raising $7 million, mostly from other evangelicals eager to support the Jewish state, he chose a spot near Kibbutz Maanit to begin the 4,500-yard drill based on his reading of the Old Testament.

Brown says God won’t let him fail. If no oil is found at Maanit by the time he reaches bottom later this month, Brown has plans to drill at least three more holes. That will require more money, which he says evangelical Christians will gladly provide. "Finding oil will give Israel a huge strategic advantage" over its Arab enemies, he says. "It will change the political and economic structure of the region overnight."

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