You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others.
2 Timothy 2:2 NLT
|The Dead Sea, Israel|
Lake Kinneret, as it is called by Israelis, is fed by springs as well tributaries from Mt. Hermon in the north. At the southern end of the lake, water flows out through the Jordan River, Israel's most famous stream. The word Jordan means "down-rusher" which described the descent from Galilee to Israel's other significant inland body of water, the Dead Sea. Between the southern tip of the Sea of Galilee and the entrance to the Dead Sea, a distance of about 65 miles in a straight line, the Jordan drops over 600 ft. The Dead Sea is over 1300 feet below sea level.
The Dead Sea and surrounding area is the opposite of the Sea of Galilee; the landscape is dry desert, and the Dead Sea contains no fish. The mineral elements in the water are so thick that the lake cannot sustain life. The Dead Sea is "dead" because water flows in but there is no outlet for water to flow out. As the water evaporates in the desert heat, salt minerals are left behind and forbid the existence of life. While it is an interesting experience to float in the Dead Sea, the minerals in the water can be toxic even for humans.
For a body of water to be healthy and sustain life, it must have tributaries or springs that feed it, and it must have outlets for water to flow from it. Without both, the water would dry up, become stagnant and toxic.
There is a spiritual lesson in these two bodies of water. In order for a follower of Christ to be healthy spiritually, he or she needs tributaries, others who are feeding into them, helping to nourish them spiritually. But they also need outlets, people in whom they can invest what they have learned in following Christ. Without an outlet for our spiritual life, our faith begins to weaken and dry up. We end up becoming spiritually stagnant and even spiritually toxic. Some of the most miserable "Christians" I have known were those who have spent their lives in the church having someone (usually the pastor or Sunday School teacher) pour into them, but never finding other people to pour into themselves. Many times they become bitter, controlling, and even toxic to those around them.
Paul teaches Timothy this truth about healthy spiritual life in the above Scripture. Paul poured into Timothy ("You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses") and then instructed Timothy to pour into others ("Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people ") who would then pass the instructions on to even more ("who will be able to pass them on to others.") This is the "secret" to a healthy spiritual life - having someone (or someones) to invest in your life, and having other people in whom you are investing. This is the difference between a living faith and dead religious life.
Who are you learning from and who are you pouring into? Who is discipling you, and who are you discipling? (And are you helping them disciple others?) Are you spiritually alive or religiously dead?