“One sea is full of flow… the other sea, full of woe.” So depicts the difference between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, Galilee to the north is teaming with life, while the dead sea to the south is a quagmire of water stagnant with any number of natural salts, that kills any life that would attempt to grow in it. The waters of Galilee are an open system of tributaries and rivers that flow in and out of the water way, thus allowing fresh waters to balance and grow life and give life. The waters of the Dead only receive and never give, as it is a closed system where no life can survive and thrive due to its inability grow beyond itself. So, considering these two seas, let us apply these waters to our lives and the life of the Church and society. Which sea do you tend to be? Are you one sea one day, and the other the next? What of the Church and society? What does a Dead Sea Church look and act like? A society that seeks to cultivate kindness and civility, does the sea one chooses to be make a difference there, as well? You get the flow of my inquiry, don’t you?
A Sea of Galilee life is one of rich diversity and the balance of the ebb and flow of love, compassion, and grace. A Church and society teaming with life is one that has the waters received from afar, at the same time willing to surrender in many directions to share that life to point beyond itself. Its purpose is that of life, and so it filters out any element that would diminish, to cultivate only that which takes, in proportion to what it gives.
A Dead Sea life is one of fear of letting go, and so that which it receives ultimately sits and rots. When the waters of life are not gently received, and given away, no life can grow, for a diverse relational “eco system” is necessary for life, and diversity of many life forms draws those hungry and thirsty to the shores, not so among the dead ways. To live a “land locked” life is truly to build a wall of isolation and fear where any encounter with the outsider never lives long.
Diversity and the courage to receive and give away that which you have, knowing that it will not return in the same form that you give, will always grow life and fulfill the goal of its life giving water. The opposite will only breed fear and death, be it emotional, spiritual, or physical. A closed biological system will ultimately feed upon itself.
In this time of Lent, explore your two seas. Where are you teaming with life and diversity in yourself, in your church, and your relationships? In those Dead Sea places, where are you afraid to surrender to God, yourself, and others – and will you dare open those waters to the love of God, yourself, and others? Will you allow fresh water, living water, baptismal water to enter your dead places? For when you look at a map of the two seas, you will notice that the River Jordan connects the two, and that connection tells me that there is always hope, for the Jordan is the place of crossing to the promised lands, and where Jesus loves to swim…how about you?