There are two large bodies of water in the Holy Land, connected with each other by the river Jordan – the Dead Sea in the south and the Sea of Galilee/Tiberias/Gennesaret in the north. The two seas are no more than a hundred miles apart and yet there is a world of difference between the two of them. The Dead Sea, as the name implies, is dead. Because of its saltiness, nothing lives nor can live in it. In contrast, the Sea of Galilee is alive and teeming with all kinds of life: lush vegetation, birds of all kinds and, of course, fishes. It was in this sea that the miraculous catch of fish happened: “they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break.” Luke 5:6 Why the world of difference? The Dead Sea is fed by the river Jordan but it does not have an outlet. It receives and receives but it does not give; therefore, it is dead. The Sea of Galilee is fed by many streams and rivulets and its waters flow out into the river Jordan. The Sea of Galilee receives and receives and then gives back; therefore it is alive.
So its is with life. Life is a gift, flowing into us – unbidden, undeserved. But the essence of life, it reason for being, is not in the receiving but in the giving. A star exists but its existence is not what makes it a star. A star is a star because it gives out light and energy that enlivens and enables other heavenly bodies around it to exist or even come into being. A tree is alive but its life is not what makes it a tree. A tree is a tree because it gives shade, or fruits, or timber. A tree is a tree because it gives seeds from which other trees can grow. A man receives the gift of life but his being alive does not define his humanity. A man is a man because he gives life to and shares it with others.
The essence of living is not in the receiving but in the giving. It is in the dying that we come into life. It is in the emptiness that we discover the fullness of our existence. Nothing in nature is ever wasted for as long as it is shared and given away. It is only when something is received, keep it in selfishness or greed just for ourselves and not give it out or shared that it is destroyed or lost.
O God, let all the nations praise you!
Jesus said in reply,
“It is not right to take the food of the children
and throw it to the dogs.”
She said, “Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps
that fall from the table of their masters.”
Then Jesus said to her in reply,
“O woman, great is your faith!
Let it be done for you as you wish.”
And the woman’s daughter was healed from that hour.