“. . . where the river flows everything will live.” Ezekiel 47:9
“There are two seas in Palestine. One 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 water. Along its shores the children play. The River Jordan makes the sea with sparking water from the hills. So it laughs in the sunshine. And men build their houses near to it, and birds 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 waters and neither men nor beast nor fowl will drink. What makes this mighty difference in these 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 in equal measure. The other 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 Sea.
There are two kinds of people in the world. There are two seas in Palestine.”
Bruce Barton (1886-1967)
Somewhere years ago, I had read this little narrative by Bruce Barton, which came to mind during our recent tour of Israel (as it is known today). Our journey began in the north along the Sea of Galilee, then carried us south more or less alongside the Jordan River toward Jericho, on to Jerusalem, and eventually the Dead Sea. It is exactly as Barton described.
“. . .where the river flows everything will live.” Yet, just as there are these two distinctively different seas, there are also two kinds of people in the world.