The Jordan River originates with the melting snows of Mt. Hermon, nine thousand feet high. Four streams flow forty miles and merge into the Sea of Galilee. The rabbis used to say: “Jehovah has made seven seas, but the Sea of Galilee is his delight.”
It was beside the Galilee that commerce flourished in Jesus’ day. It was there people found mineral springs to sooth the discomforts of the sick. And it was there that Jesus performed most of his miracles and preached his great sermons.
The first verse of “There is a Sea” E.L. Jorgenson refers to this Sea of Galilee.
There is a sea which, day by day, receives the rippling rills
and streams that spring from wells of God, or fall from cedared hills.
But what it thus receives, it gives, with a glad unsparing hand.
The result is a stream more wide, with deeper tide, which flows on to a lower land.
From the Sea of Galilee, the Jordan drops another 700 feet over 65 miles to the Dead Sea (1275 ft. below sea level). When the beautiful water from Mt. Hermon arrives here, it stays here. There is no outlet. Locked in by mountains, the sea is one giant evaporating pan. Only 2-4 inches of rain fall here each year. The temperature varies from 77 to 124 degrees. The water evaporates leaving only minerals. A third of the lake is salt. Nothing lives there, and anything living in the Jordan dies when it arrives in the Dead Sea. In the second verse of the song, the Dead Sea is described.
There is a sea which day by day receives this fuller tide.
But all its store it keeps, nor gives to shore nor sea beside.
Its Jordan stream, now turned to brine, lies heavy as molten lead.
And its dreadful name (Dead Sea) does forever proclaim that sea is waste and dead.
The third verse is the challenge verse for Christians. Which sea do you want to be?
Which shall it be for you and me who God’s good gifts obtain?
Shall we accept for self alone, or take to give again?
For he (Jesus) who once was rich indeed, laid all his glory down
That by his grace, our ransomed race should share his wealth and crown.
Christians who receive the gifts of God become more beautiful when they pass them along to others. Those who keep them only for themselves, spiritually die.