Looking East from Hilltop Farm towards Gladstone South Australia

Oasis in a Dry Land

Mark 3:7 Jesus departed with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him; 8 hearing all that he was doing, they came to him in great numbers from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, beyond the Jordan, and the region around Tyre and Sidon. 9 He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him; 10 for he had cured many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him. 11 Whenever the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and shouted, "You are the Son of God!" 12 But he sternly ordered them not to make him known.

 

Although the Pharisees have refused the hand Jesus held out to them, everyone else is following the evidence of their eyes. There is a dark irony in this story. The Pharisees, leaders of God's people, self appointed exemplars, refuse to recognise Jesus for who be is. In fact, they seek to destroy him. But wherever he goes, the unclean spirits fall down and worship him!

Personally, I find this irony full of threat. What would it mean to be found to have set out to destroy the one even unclean spirits recognised as God's chosen?

In the gospel stories Jesus criss-crosses the country on his travels. The sea of Galilee is constantly mentioned. It is a focal point. In a dry country we understand something of this. The body of a lake is an oasis. It is not only a physical oasis, but a spiritual place too. There is cool and green and life in the midst of baked dry land.

There is something happening in his constant travelling round the lake. He keeps coming back to the oasis, to the life source. But he is also the life source. He is oasis. He is an embodiment of the spiritual that water symbolises.


Direct Biblical quotations in this page are taken from The New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

 


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