In a little corner of the world in a country that would fit into my home country of Australia 370 times, there is a river that has a lesson attached to it that is absolutely essential for complete healing. You don’t have to dip yourself in it, although a particular army commander called Naaman was healed doing so.
It originates approximately 200 meters above sea level on the slopes of Mt. Hermon, Israel. It ends its course at the lowest spot in the world, the Dead Sea, at 420 meters below sea level. Along its course, the Yarden feeds two large lakes: the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. In its course from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea, the Yarden travels a winding 230 kilometres, covering just 105 kilometres in a straight line.
When we are under threat either through an actual physical attack or through stress and/or sickness, our core response is normally self-protection. Whether it is a banged up thumb, having been hit with a hammer, or a failing economy, the first instinct is to address the urgent, protect the self and get things under control again. The body might stop unessential activity to effect healing of a major bruise. A government may reduce overseas aid in order to reduce expenditure and reign in the budget. In the first instance, and for the critical situation, this is entirely appropriate.
The circumstance becomes a problem when this reaction to a critical situation become a permanent fixture. What I’m talking about here is a slide from generosity to selfishness. Because it is the nature of man to be selfish and self-centred, we can’t rely upon automatic adjustment when dealing with this. We need to make decisions. Acts of the will. The importance is this is illustrated by the Yarden River. From the snow melts and rain on Mt Hermon, pure waters flow into the Sea of Galilee. The lake is teeming with life, commerce and is a place where birds and fish abound.
Some 100kms south is another ‘sea’. The Dead Sea. It is feed from the same pristine waters, coming from the Lake of Galilee. The difference is that nothing lives in the Dead Sea. Having swum in the Dead Sea, you really can’t sink, and you can’t stay in the water more than about 20 minutes. It brings death. There are no fish or plant life in it.
What is the difference between the two seas? Unlike the Dead Sea that has no outflow, the Sea of Galilee passes on the blessing of life down between the hills. In terms of healing, the Galilee takes and it passes on. It is generous. The Dead Sea takes but gives nothing back. It is a wonderful example of how powerful the idea of generosity is. Although it initially seems counter-intuitive, the Creator has made this part of His character part of the fabric of creation. Generosity brings life and blessing. Stinginess and self-centredness bring death.
You might feel that with all you have on, the unwellness you are struggling with, the challenges you have before you that you just have to look after yourself. And look, for the critical situation that might be appropriate. However, as soon as the acute situation is passed or managed, it’s time to look for ways to be generous. Open your wallet, give of your time, speak an encouraging word, anything to let the power of life start flowing through you again.
Be Blessed, Aryeh.