And here we are at the Dead Sea.” Our guide pointed to the body of water on our left. From our bus window we could see what seemed like an ordinary fresh water lake. From a distance it looked inviting, especially with the blue of the sky reflected in it. The one incongruity was that the area around the water was desert, not the lush greenery one might expect.
Before we left the bus, our guide explained how the Sea is formed. Its primary water source is the snows of Mount Hermon, far to the north. The water flows down from there to the Sea of Galilee, from which the Jordan River is formed to feed the Dead Sea.
The same water that begins clear and pure becomes impure and stagnant when it settles in the Dead Sea. “The Sea of Galilee receives the water but then gives it out, making it a living body of water,” he said. “The Dead Sea receives the water, but it settles there with no outlet and becomes stagnant and of no use.”
We walked down to the water’s edge. Like everyone else, we touched our fingers to the water and then to our lips. We wanted to taste the proverbial saltiness—and we were not disappointed.
As we left, my mind returned to the guide’s words. We had seen the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Galilee. We had walked in the Jordan river. The water of the Dead Sea was unlike either of them. Water that had once been pure was pure no longer, because the Sea of Galilee disperses what it receives, while the Dead Sea hoards water for itself.
I thought of the rich man in Jesus’ parable, recorded in Luke 12:16. He gave no thought for those around him but laid up treasure for himself. In the end, he was unable to enjoy what he had.
Contrast that with the widow of Zarepheth, described in 1 Kings 17:15. She was willing to share the little she had with the prophet Elijah. Not surprisingly, the meal and the oil continued to supply her needs and bless others as well.
I thought about my life and asked some hard questions. Am I self-centered so that my life may become stagnant? Am I neglecting to give myself in love to those around me? Do I keep from getting involved because it would make me vulnerable? Am I hoarding the blessings of God for myself instead of sharing with those around me?
“O God,” I earnestly prayed, and continue to pray, “don’t let me become a Dead Sea, but keep me a clear and living Sea of Galilee.”
Joyce Winters, The War Cry