Life Lessons From the Dead and Living Seas
Several years ago I traveled throughout Israel and several other Mideast countries. There were many special moments on that trip but two of my favorite stops were the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. Both bodies of water are fed by the same source – the Jordan River. But there the similarities end.
The Sea of Galilee teems with life – many varieties of fish, plankton and other sea creatures. It is one of the richest fisheries in the world (no wonder many of Jesus’ disciples were fishermen). When I traveled by boat on the lake you could look down into its clear water and see multitudes of fish swimming.
The Dead Sea on the other hand, is exactly what its name implies. There is no life, just lots and lots of saline water. It is beautiful in its own right but there is nothing alive about it. The fun was in swimming (although the saltwater stung). As I waded into the water and got knee deep the buoyancy of the salt water flipped you forward (or backward if you weren’t careful). You could no longer stand in the water as it literally lifted you off your feet. You could simply swim forever and as you couldn’t sink, we went far out into the lake. You could look down into the clear water (literally hundreds of feet deep and crystal clear) but you would only see salt formations and salt water. Nothing alive was there!
These lakes serve as wonderful parables in life. What is the difference between the two lakes? Only one thing really –the Sea of Galilee has an outlet – the Jordan River flows through the lake. It not only receives water; it also gives back an equal amount of water at its outlet keeping the Jordan River flowing and releasing salt and other contaminants. In the process the Sea of Galilee stays in healthy balance.
The Dead Sea has no outlet. The Jordan flows into the lake and then all the water evaporates and all the salt and contaminants remain. It never gives – it only hoards and dies in the process and it is getting saltier and more contaminated every year.
One of the most profound messages we can learn is that we receive what we give. The Sea of Galilee gives and receives life. The Dead Sea hoards and dies. We are the healthiest and happiest when we learn this key life lesson. It is a parable that also fits into our lives. As we give our time, talents and goodness, we will find life and the promises that life brings. To not give of our time, talent and opportunities (closing our outlets) leads to opposite results and a lot of unhappiness. I want to be living water!