A Parable of Two Seas

Jesus said, “The one who believes in me...will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (John 7:38).

There’s an old but excellent analogy I find very helpful as a picture of a healthy Christian life. In northern Israel lies the beautiful Sea of Galilee, where Jesus often sailed with His disciples. Water freely flows from it into the Jordan River. Its water is fresh and life-giving. Like many, we’ve been there and seen and smelled its vitality.

But 88 miles south is a radically different sea. One of the lowest spots on earth, the Dead Sea collects large volumes of water but disperses none. Its salt concentration is so high no fish or vegetation can survive. While it’s fun to float on the Dead Sea—you can’t help but do so—it’s not fun to realize how utterly dead that sulfur-smelling water really is. 

While the Jordan River flows into the Sea of Galilee, it also flows out. The water passes through, allowing it to support fish and plant life. Trapped, with no outlet, the Dead Sea keeps taking water in, but none leaves it but by evaporation.

No outlet means no life. This is a parable. In order to be faithful stewards and love others, we must be not only recipients of God’s provision but also outlets of it. Only then will we experience the abundant life He intends for us. (And we won’t smell like sulfur to everyone either!)

Adapted from Giving Is the Good Life: The Unexpected Path to Purpose and Joy.

Photo by james ballard on Unsplash

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries