Friday, June 23, 2017

No Outlet

In 1986, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of going to the Holy Land to walk where Jesus walked. Tears welled up as I sat in a boat on the Sea of Galilee and realized this was the site where Jesus walked on the water and calmed the stormy waves with His "Peace! Be still!"

Across the waters was the mount upon which Jesus preached His "Sermon on the Mount" and fed the five thousand with five small loaves and two fish.

At its base was the place where Jesus met with His disciples after the Resurrection and commissioned Peter to "Feed My sheep."

On the other side, Jesus cast the demons out of the Gadarene and into the herd of swine that then plunged into the sea.

 Then we followed the Jordan River through the Rift Valley south to Jericho and on to the Dead Sea. From a distance, its blue waters looked like a shimmering gemstone set in the platinum surroundings of salt formations.

Our guide explained that the area was once the well-watered plains of Sodom and Gomorrah chosen by Lot when he and Abraham parted ways. He pointed out the pillar of salt named "Lot's Wife." Lot's family was warned by the angel not to look back as they escaped the destruction of Sodom, but his wife did and was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:12-29).

The natives of the area call it the Salt Sea. It contains ten times the salinity of ordinary ocean water. In fact, its water volume is more than one-fourth mineral matter. A person cannot sink in its waters. We were warned not to even stick a finger or toe into the water unless we could wash it thoroughly with fresh water because the water is so caustic.

The Dead Sea is well named. No animal life can exist in it. Fish that are swept into it by the Jordan River soon die.

The Dead Sea region is probably the deepest depression on earth. It is 1,300 feet below sea level. The bottom is another 1,300 feet below the surface in the deepest part. This hole is 2,600 feet in depth--with the Mediterranean Sea only 50 miles away.

The trouble with the Dead Sea is that it holds everything for itself. It has an intake but no outlet. Water flows in from the Jordan River, but none flows out.

How like some people who take in but never give out. Some Christians go to worship services and take in but get so busy with their own lives that they never give out to others. I want to be like a glass held under a faucet. The glass fills up and overflows to others with fresh, life-giving water.

Looking for good summer reading? Check out my newest book, Beside Still Waters, Book Three in my Alaskan Waters Trilogy, available now in paperback and ebook at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes.

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