“Jesus spoke many things in parables, one said, ‘Behold, the sower went out to sow, and some of His seeds fell beside the road.’ In explanation, ‘This kind of ground was like those who were too hardened to accept the truth of My Gospel. So, after a while, Satan came and removed these truths, as birds do when seeing seeds on the road.’ Yet, Jesus also said His seeds of the Gospel fell on good soil as well, which are those who believe and receive His truth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” Matthew 13:3, 4, 8, 9 (rvk)
A few years ago my wife, Myrna, and I visited the Holy Land. It was a terrific trip, and we loved every minute of it. We plan to go back again this year if possible. Three of the sites that impacted us were the Jordan River, where Jesus was baptized, the Sea of Galilee, where He stilled a storm with one command, and the Dead Sea, where nothing lives. The Jordan, which is the main water source for Israel is not very big or wide. It flows north to south from Mount Hermon, spilling into the Sea of Galilee first, and then ends at the Dead Sea 112 miles downstream. Myrna and I swam in both seas, one full of life and the other non-existent of life. Both were large, but the Dead Sea outsized the Sea of Galilee by quite a bit. From a distance, both seas looked beautiful, but up close only the Sea of Galilee proved to be so.
Why the difference between these two seas, that is, one being so alive and the other dead? When the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee, it also flows out of it too, making its water fresh to drink, healthy for fish to live in, and lush for bordering trees and vegetation to thrive. On the other hand, when the Jordan River flows into the Dead Sea, it has nowhere else to go. Thus it becomes stagnant and incredibly salty. In fact, it is so salty that it is impossible to drown in it because the salt concentration always keeps your body upright. It also smells and can burn your eyes if your face goes under.
There are two applications that can be drawn from these three bodies of water. In both applications, the Jordan River is the same, a continuous flow of God’s truth via the Scriptures, and the life and witness of Christ.
In the first application, the Sea of Galilee corresponds to those who take in God’s flow of truth, beginning with accepting Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. After that many other truths flow in that deal with how to live an abundant and fulfilled life here on earth. And just as this great Galilean Sea prospers because of what it receives and gives out, so it is for those who take in God’s truths and gives them out to others. The Dead Sea, on the other hand, represents many who refuse God’s flow of truth, the most significant being to ignore or reject what is said about Christ. Because of this, they grow increasingly stagnant in their beliefs and lifestyles. And like this sea without any outlet and full of salt, they end up deadening themselves, and everyone and everything else around them.
“Jesus said, ‘I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved… I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’” John 10:9-10 (rvk)
“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water in the well will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water I give shall never thirst again; because the water I give becomes a well of spiritual water springing up within and leading to eternal life.’” John 4:13-14 (rvk)
The second application is for Christians whose lives became new and alive at salvation, a “Sea of Galilee” kind of experience. Sadly though, many still hold onto “Dead Sea” parts of their old lives that linger on. The solution is pretty simple, respond to God’s continuous flow of truth in regard to these parts by asking for His forgiveness and help. If you need to, do this every day until those “Dead Sea” parts are gone or at least not dominating you anymore. Who knows, perhaps persistence and reliance on God will result in your Dead Sea parts becoming more like a Sea of Galilee, full of life, not death.
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Psalm 32:3-5 (rvk)
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12
From a distance both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea look majestic and healthy; I know I’ve stood on different mountain tops looking at each one of them. It was only when I got closer to the two seas that I could see what each was really like, one alive and well, and the other completely dead. So it is I suspect with the people and even many leaders of this world, from a distance most look okay or even thriving, but as you get closer to them, you realize only a few are. Therefore before you put your trust in anyone, get to know them better, to see if they are like the Dead Sea or the Sea of Galilee.
rvk- Means the Scriptural passage quoted was shortened, paraphrased, or revised for the sake of brevity. The actual meaning each was maintained.
The inspiration for the devotional- This was motivated by Streams in the Desert II, February 8th.