words that ring true

I like this analogy from church this morning. I have traveled to both the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. When I heard the words below, I pictured the scenes in my mind and remembered them to be exactly as described.

When I look at myself and my actions, I know they are also exactly as described. Lots to think about on this Sabbath eve.

There are two seas in Palestine. One, the Sea of Galilee, is fresh, and fish are in it. Splashes of green adorn its banks. Trees spread their branches over it and stretch out their thirsty roots to sip of its healing waters. . . . The River Jordan feeds this sea with sparkling water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, birds build their nests, and every kind of life is happier because it is there.

The River Jordan flows on south into another sea. Here is no splash of fish, no fluttering leaf, no song of birds, no children's laughter. Travelers choose another route, unless on urgent business. The air hangs heavy above its water, and neither man nor beast nor fowl will drink.

What makes this mighty difference in these neighbour seas? Not the River Jordan. It empties the same good water into both. Not the soil in which they lie, not the country round about.

This is the difference: the Sea of Galilee receives but does not keep the Jordan. For every drop that flows into it another drop flows out. The giving and receiving go on in equal measure. The Dead Sea is shrewder - hoarding its income jealously. It will not be tempted into any generous impulse. Every drop it gets, it keeps.

The Sea of Galilee gives and lives. This other sea gives nothing. It is named the Dead. There are two kinds of people in this world. There are two seas in Palestine.

--quoted by Bruce Barton in The Man Nobody Knows