The Healing Waters Of Galilee
I visited my childhood friend Danny, it had been over thirty years since I had seen him. A mutual friend told me that he was in drug rehab. I went to the treatment center and asked the receptionist for his room number. I walked down the hall and entered his room. When I saw him I was sure I had the wrong room. The patient looked up at me and called me by name. I was stunned that Danny’s drug addiction had taken such a toll. We embraced and spoke of old times. I asked Danny about his wife Debbie. They were high school sweethearts and married just before Danny graduated from college. Danny had three grown children who were no longer a part of his life. Danny had grandchildren that he had never even met. Debbie had left him ten years earlier because of his addiction.
After spending an hour with my childhood friend I wondered if there was any hope for him, he had squandered so much over so little. It was difficult to try to breathe hope into my devastated and despairing friend. He was a broken man. His highly successful career as a hospital administrator was dashed to pieces. His faithful and loving wife finally moved on. His children never knew the gentle kind person that I knew before his addiction. Danny expressed a desire to die. After multiple failed attempts to live free of addiction, my friend had come to the end of his hope. Two months later my childhood friend was found lying next to the river, dead and homeless. There was no funeral. The State paid for his cremation.
Approximately 20 miles west of Jerusalem sits the Dead Sea. The shores of the Dead Sea rest thirteen hundred feet below sea level, the lowest spot on earth. The Dead Sea has a higher concentration of salt than the world’s oceans by several hundred times. Nothing lives in the Dead Sea. When fish from the Jordan River enter the Dead Sea they die instantly. Their wind blown carcasses find their way to the shore, covered with salt crystals.
North of Jerusalem sits the historical and life giving waters of the Sea of Galilee. Galilee is situated 693 feet below sea level. Galilee has provided life giving waters to millions for thousands of years. Everything Galilee touches lives. Fishermen still harvest an abundance of fish annually from the great and giving Galilee. Farmers for generations have depended on the constant life giving waters of the great Galilee. Jesus performed many of His miracles in and on the shores of Galilee, including the calling of several of his disciples. The great Sermon on the Mount was believed to have been given from a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee.
Like my childhood friend Danny, the Dead Sea has no escape. The Dead Sea keeps all the water it captures, there is no outlet. Unfortunately with addiction, we become much like the Dead Sea, much like the high concentration of salt, our addiction also kills all life around us. Is there any hope for my friend Danny who under the stress of life turned to a drug addiction for relief? Or is it too late for him because he is now gone? Some would say yes, I say NO! . Isn’t Jesus the Savior of the living and the dead?
The ancient prophet Ezekiel spoke of a day when even the Dead Sea would be healed, a day when water would run underneath the Temple, and become a mighty river that would empty into the Dead Sea. In Ezekiel’s description in chapter 47 you might think he is talking about the Sea of Galilee, but he is definitely speaking of the Dead Sea. Imagine that incredible day when an artesian well springs from underneath the Temple and becomes a mighty river. When enough water enters the Dead Sea and raises its level over its bank, it will form other outlets. Then the salt will dissipate and living water will once again begin its life giving cycle.
Even those drowning in the Dead Sea of the most powerful soul destroying addictions, can find hope and healing in the living waters of Galilee. As the northern stream of Jordan enters the great Galilee and the southern stream of Jordon exits, it reminds us that it is the giving after the receiving that perpetuates living. Jesus is truly Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
Even for those who have been swept into the Dead Sea of addiction, there is hope. You may believe that it is too late to undo all that you have destroyed. It may be to late for you to undo, but not for God. The next time you see the stars, think about how long God has been building His universe. Remember who He is building it for. He is building it for you. You may not be where you ought to be, or even where God wants you to be, but He’s not done building His universe or you. He is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. You were with him in the beginning and He will be with you in the end.
Jesus chose to be baptized in Jordon when there were other cleaner more respected rivers. Jesus lived a humble life. He is now exalted and sits upon His throne. He is still humble. When you come to humility and finally say in your heart that “I can not do this, I need help” He will lift you. He is waiting for your invitation. He stands at the door of your heart and He gently knocks. Are you listening, can you hear Him? Open your door from within, He will enter.
Authors note: I’ve often wondered what we will call the Dead Sea after it is healed. Surely it wouldn’t be fitting to call it the Dead Sea after it was filled with life would it? I guess any of a number of names would do and be appropriate. Maybe the Life Giving Sea, or maybe, Lake of Living Water, or maybe Resurrection Springs. Maybe there will be a contest to rename the Dead Sea. If there is then I will submit one as well. Maybe I would just call it, Galilee.