Friday, October 23, 2009

The Story of Two Seas

Visited Israel? If you did, then you know that Israel has two lakes.
The one up in the North is the Kinneret, also known as the Sea of
Galilee, because it is up in the area called the Galilee. From this
lake comes most of the water in the tiny state. The ancient city of
Tiberias, located on its shores, is today a flourishing city. Here the
delicious St. Peter's fish is caught by the local fishermen and prized
as a delicacy.
From the Kinneret, the water is purified and pumped into large
pipelines that bring the life-giving water to the towns and cities all
over the country. From the Kinneret, the Jordan River winds its way
down to the Dead Sea. It is much smaller now than in the times of the
Bible, but still enough to give life and green to the plants all along
its path.
The second of Israel's lakes is the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is an area
of desolation. Even though the sweet waters of the Jordan flow into it,
yet the salty mineral water is too heavy to be diluted. No plants grow
around the banks of the Dead Sea, and no fish or plant life exists in
the heavily salty waters. The salt concentrate is not like that of the
average oceans of the world. It is so great that when a bather walks
into the water, at a point approximately at his chest, the dense water
lifts him up and he will float. Indeed no one is able to swim in the
water. The salt and mineral content is so great that it burns the eyes
and any open wound. After being in the water, a bather must wash to
cleanse himself from the salt and mineral residue.
What a contrast! Compare the life-giving water of the Kinneret in the
North to the deathly-parched area around the Dead Sea.
Yet we are told that this is similar to two basic types of people:
There is the giver, the person who gives generously whether of his time
or his money. And there is the taker, the person who only takes, and
any giving on his part is only in his own self interest, to promote
more taking. The giver gives, and life grows around him. The taker only
takes and death is around him, nothing sprouts.
Yes, there are contributory rivers that flow into the Kinneret, but
their waters are not kept there, but distributed to other needy
sources. The giver is the sustainer of life.
The Dead Sea is located in the lowest part of Israel and one of the
lowest parts of the world. The Dead Sea keeps all of its water to
itself. Similarly, the taker, only takes and keeps it only for himself.
No one else benefits from him. Nothing is lower than this.
Even from the geography of the Holy Land of Israel, we learn deep
lessons on how to conduct our lives. Let us be a giver. Let us concern
ourselves with the other person.
Remember, even smiling at the next person is an act of giving. Let us
go beyond our needs and see what we can do to help the next person.

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