21 March, Tuesday — The call to go on

Tuesday of the 4th Week of Lent

Eze 47:19,12
Jn 5:1-16

…for the waters had risen so high

I was recently in the Holy Land and experienced again, the waters of the Jordan and the waters of the Dead Sea. The contrast of the two is startling; though today the one thing they have in common is that their waters aren’t rising, they are both getting smaller. 

Regional population growth and climate change, compounded by challenging politics (including around water issues), have squeezed not only the Jordan River, but also other water sources in  the area. Today, the Jordan River’s flow is less than 10 percent of its historical average.  — Dec 14, 2020

As the climate warms, the desert region around the Dead Sea gets hotter and rainfall becomes more rare. As populations grow, scarce water resources will be in higher demand for drinking and irrigation, leaving little left for replenishing the Dead Sea. — Dec 11, 2022

The Jordan river meanders, the Dead Sea sits motionless. That’s been my life.

In many places, the Jordan river looks dirty and unhealthy, the Dead Sea looks clean and healthy. Again, that’s been my life, everything isn’t as it seems.

The Jordan river has fish to feed, the Dead Sea contains no life.  Again, me. Sometimes I am a giver and sometimes I am only a taker.

One could float or swim in the Jordan for hours, to stay in the Dead Sea for hours could literally kill a person for various reasons in various ways. Yet again, me. I have walked into, and stayed in, situations I know God didn’t call me into.

And yet they both contain new life spiritually.  The Jordan is of baptismal waters, giving new life to any and all. The Dead Sea contains the salt, purifying and refining to any and all.

New life is what we all want, isn’t it? New life is the answer to all our problems. New life is the road to eternal life with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We want to be cleansed of our past sins. Yet, we often breeze over the fact that new life comes only with purification and refinement.

We all experience times in our life when we think we are going to drown because the waters of life just keep getting higher and higher. In our mind, we are trying so hard to do all the right things, to be the right person. We are trying so hard to listen to God, to talk to God, to be in the presence of God, to have relationship with God. And yet the waters rise. We feel cold. We are scared we won’t be able to breathe. Sometimes, we feel like we can’t breathe. Like breathing is all we can focus on to get through the day, the week, the month. Sometimes, we feel like we can’t go on.

“Sometimes there is nowhere to go but on.”

I recently read that POWERFUL line in a book. And that is a place I have been several times in my life. Caught between the living and the dead waters. Times in my life when I felt like I physically couldn’t breathe. My life circumstances were drowning me. It may not have looked that way to anyone else – all were problems that many other people also face – but getting through each day, staying afloat, was all the energy I had. Not seeing a way out, not knowing if I wanted a way out, other than simply OUT. Times that felt worse than simply drowning, but drowning in a dead sea where the salt in my eyes felt like fire, where a drop of water on my lips, in my mouth felt like my throat would close up. I couldn’t seem to think straight, couldn’t come up with a plan on my own to change the circumstances. Several times, it has seemed that I couldn’t go on.

But ON was the only place to go.

And ON was the answer God gave. 

Once I accepted the ON, I could immediately breathe more easily. Simply coming to the place that the enemy was trying to hide from me (let’s face it, when we are drowning and gasping for air it’s the enemy, and not our loving Father, who we are in conversation with) made all the difference. Remembering what I’d apparently forgotten or put aside (putting aside God’s will for my own will) intentionally looking and talking UP instead of talking in my own head. 

God has given us flowing waters to cleanse us, and salt to purify and refine us – the enemy will use the same to things to destroy us. 

We have the choice in our free will to choose the cleansing waters.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Free will is Your perfect gift to us, Lord, and so often I have misused this gift. Wanting, desiring and loving things and people above You. Even in doing so, I knew it would lead to my downfall; yet, continued to make the choice to turn away from You. And still You did not turn from me. You put cleansing waters in my path day after day. Never abandoning me.

Thanksgiving: Thank you, Father God. Thank you.


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