The Dead and Living Seas
by George O. Wood
I recently stood on the shore of the Lake of Galilee and thought of the famous illustration of Bruce Barton about the two seas in Israel: one where fish live and where the earth is nurtured by the fresh water of the lake. At the other sea there is no splash of fish, no song of birds, and water so foul neither man nor beast will drink. That sea is called the Dead.
Barton asks, “What’s the difference in these two seas?” His answer is that while both seas receive water, only one — the Galilee — gives. Water flows from the Lake of Galilee, but nothing flows out of the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea hoards every drop. Barton concludes that just as there are two seas in Israel, so there are two kinds of people in the world—those who give and live, and the “dead.”
A few days later though, I stood at the shore of the Dead Sea and thought of another writer, John Claypool. He points out that the Dead Sea has a different kind of outlet — to the sky. Over the centuries, as it has surrendered itself to the sun, a residue of potash (a main ingredient of fertilizer) has built up and remains along its shores. Engineers estimate that if the potash around the Dead Sea were mixed and distributed there would be enough to fertilize the whole surface of the earth for at least five years.
The point Claypool makes is that life never comes to a complete end. When you have no outlet, except surrender in helplessness, the miracle of new life can still arise. The way we handle the “heat” of life can become a “fertilizer” for good in the lives whom we touch.
I’m sure there will be times when, like the Lake of Galilee, we give and live. But, there may be also times when we feel at a dead end. In those moments, may we lift up our hands in surrender to the Lord and pray that He will use that difficult experience as a blessing to Him, to others, and even to ourselves!