Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Moldau or Dead Sea?

Two springs pour forth in the shade of the forest, one warm and gushing, the other cold and peaceful. Their waves joyously rush down over their rocky beds, then unite and glisten in the rays of the morning sun.  Thus begins the symphonic picture of the Moldau River as painted in music by renowned Czechoslovakian composer, Bedrich Smetana.   

The Moldau, the longest River in Czechoslovakia is about 300 miles long and flows from its source, those two streams in the Bohemian forest, and finally empties into the Elbe River.   As you listen to Smetan's composition you can almost hear the river grow from its humble beginnings into a mighty river. 

I love that mental picture of that river flowing with a sense of purpose, rolling on past farmland and forests carrying boats,  giving of itself, perhaps providing a refreshing drink to birds and animals, flowing ever onward supplying water for farmers’ fields, and beauty to all those who gaze upon it.  To me it typifies the constant flow of life coming from a hidden source and disappearing into the eternal existence.  A river with a purpose, not only a thing of beauty but a worthwhile function, a raison d'etre.   

The Arid Dead Sea
In sharp contrast to the Moldau is the Dead Sea.  The Dead Sea is fed by the Jordan River and some small canals that drain into it.  But, unlike other seas it has no outlet, no river or stream originates from the Dead Sea and as a result water only leaves by evaporation, leaving behind high concentration of salinity. Over time the water has become so salty that it does not support life, hence it's name... Dead Sea.   Many years ago the Dead Sea was much larger than it is today and was not as salty, but lack of an outlet and the resulting  stagnation have left it lifeless, purposeless in the cycle of life.

That thought of the Dead Sea having no outlet compared to the vital, alive Moldau has caused me to compare the two and how that contrast can typify our lives.    I ponder which one I have become and often think it would be wise for us all to stop and ask ourselves, maybe each day, “Will I be the Moldau today?  Or the Dead Sea?   Do I have sense of purpose; Am I a living, bubbly river of joy, happiness and selflessness, am I a worthy recipient of God’s Love, am I sharing the blessings?  Or am I a closed off, aloof loner, not wanting to share all of the good I have and the lessons I have learned?  Maybe satisfied to sit and do little, even while I have so much to share?”

The temptation for some folks as they reach retirement age is to , in effect,  “shut down”.   You may have witnessed it to some extent in otherwise wonderful, talented, loving people who accept the world belief that older people have not much to offer, or can’t be very productive.   

I have found it helpful to ask myself,  'Am I living for others? Or am I only living for myself, my limited goals and objectives, my own selfish interests?  Am I becoming saltier and saltier, filling up with the pollution of stagnation with no outlet?'  Oh, the temptation is there!!

A friend recently asked why I kept so busy. This dear, long-time friend said, “When I retired… I RETIRED!   I don’t do anything.”     I thought to myself, ‘but you have so much to give, so much to share of your experience, so much love to impart to a thirsty world.’  That conversation inspired me to "keep moving"!!

Selfless Giving
Each one of us has the innate ability to be like the Moldau River, to see life’s flow as productive and useful, to flow effortlessly, to share and support and to give, to quench the thirst of those who are thirsting for love and companionship, maybe themselves searching for more meaningful life, maybe just needing a gentle touch or a warm handshake and a smile. (Or a small bouquet of flowers!!) 

In that book that contains priceless home remedies for everything we need, the Holy Bible, Jesus sets the example for us to follow, selflessly sharing what he had with all who were receptive. On one occasion he met a young woman at a well and asked her to draw some water for him.   She questioned him as to why a Jew would be asking for water from a Samaritan, since the Jews usually had no dealings with the Samaritans.  

Give the Water of Life Freely 

Jesus, seeing her need for help morally and spiritually, told her that if she had asked him, he would have given her “living waters”.  In John 4 "Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.   Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:  But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

Jesus, that loyal servant of his Father, whose life defined “sense of purpose”, whose every breath reflected the Love, Life and Mind of the Creator,  shared the Living Waters, the healing Truth of God's Love for man, the Father's precious ideas, and he blessed all  whom he encountered.     

A wonderful poem depicts the blessing of the flowing, living waters as opposed to “Dead Sea living”  It demonstrates how in sharing with others, we ourselves are refreshed! 

Make channels for the streams of Love, **
Where they may broadly run;
And Love has overflowing streams,
To fill them every one.

But if at any time we cease
 Such channels to provide,
The very founts of love for us
Will then seem parched and dried.

For we must share,
If we would keep
That blessing from above;
They cease to have who cease to give:
Such is the law of Love.

May we all leave behind the Dead Sea life and choose the Moldau, the “living waters” as our Water of the Day, today, and always.

(If you are not familiar with Smetana’s Moldau, you can hear it here:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KsFwS4V_is  )

** The Christian Science Hymnal 


Melissa Hayden said...

Pat, thanks. You'll appreciate this link: http://newlivingwaters.com/

Leah Eselgrth Gold said...

As I read this article Pat dear, I had music playing in the background. I did not immmediately realize that your photos would inspire a musical reference. But the piece I played while I viewed your Moldau photo was the intermezzi from Manon. I'll send it to you via email. Thank you for this powerful inspiration to keep growing and giving. If we really understood that we are in eternal life right now, we would stop thinking about retirement and make plans for more giving and learning. I personally don't believe in retirement. I love being active. Thank you dear, I love this and look forward to listening the Moldau too. Have a lovely evening, and hugs to the family also.....

Patrick Collins said...

Thanks dear Friends!! Thanks for your lovely comments and I look forward to receiving the intermezzi from Manon and the newliving waterslink!! Blessings. Pat

Unknown said...

We are like either the Sea of Galilee, allowing life giving water to flow through us to others, or the Dead Sea. Which holds all it is receives till that evaporates away.