What Comes In Must Go Out

The Jordan River flows into two seas, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, but only flows out of the former. I’d like to use that fact to illustrate an important life lesson, truly a matter of life and death.



The Sea of Galilee has an inlet and an outlet. The Dead Sea only half that equation. You need three elements to promote aquatic life. I also apply those elements and their accompanying pattern to my writing life.

Crossing the Sea of Galilee

1)      Inlet. Water flows and brings with it life. Ideas flow and bring with them possibilities. In order to write, I have to engage my world. I can do this through any number of avenues. I can watch. I can read. I can listen. I can converse. I can participate. The list is endless. It happens all the time, everywhere, to all of us. I think the more I read the greater the flow of ideas. So I read a lot. Well, a lot for me. The fact that I read at all is an improvement over the way I used to do business.

2)      Lake. In the writing world, this is the reflection pool. This is where ideas swim around, frolic, and play with one another. As ideas mingle, new thoughts arise out of the murk (which is a good description of my mind). They don’t always hit the page but they do float around in my head. Ideas need a place to grow. Reflection offers them the needed environment to incubate and flourish.

3)      Outlet. This is the essential element that makes a lake lively. Without it, water stagnates. Life dies. The no-outlet Dead Sea lacks life for a reason. If I don’t write, mental lethargy sets in, motivation dries up, and I accomplish little to nothing. You might have noticed that about me in recent weeks. In my case, I just needed a little more time in the incubator as I recovered from overseas travel.

If you don’t have all three elements, inlet, lake, and outlet, then your ideas die and, to some degree, so do you.

You can apply that truth to almost any area of life. Food. Drink. Education. Work. Faith.

Just take a moment to think about that.


Just a moment.

To think about…






Let’s take the first on that list, food.

No inlet. No food. Death.

Inlet, lake, but no outlet. Death.


Yes, really.

When you think about it.

Let’s take the last on that list, faith.

No inlet. No faith. Death.

Inlet, lake, but no outlet. Death.

The ONE designed us to have life in Him. But He also designed us to express our life in Him through community with one another. If we believe, allow this offer of life to flow into us, but we don’t express it in some manner, if we don’t have an outlet, faith stagnates then dies.

We need an inlet, an entryway into faith.

We need a lake, a faith incubator.

And we need an outlet, faith’s outward expression.

If you feel your faith stagnating, follow the flow—inlet to lake to outlet. Where is the problem?

Are you receiving from Him the spiritual food that nourishes your soul?

Are you reflecting on His provision and care for you?

Are you passing on the blessing to others?

Question: You can choose any of the ones from above. I invite you to share your thoughts with the community.

About tnealtarver

I've traveled and spoken around the world but always love to come home. There I eat exceptional meals, drink coffee to my heart's content, and get loved like nowhere else on earth. I believe a community centered in Christ should be all that and so much more.
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1 Response to What Comes In Must Go Out

  1. Mary says:

    I like this idea. This summer was filled with lots of inlet…board, conference, camp T, friends, family.
    I feel like I need more time on the lake, or in the lake….
    But we don’t always have the time we need. Sometimes we must quickly process and then pass on what we learned, what we took in, and that can shortchange us and those we share with, because we don’t have the time to soak in the lake, to reflect as much as we would like.
    Yet, God who gives inspiration will give us the words to share, IF we are willing to simply be the vessel, the way HE can get his message from outside us to others….and that works, or at least I hope it does.
    Thanks Tom. Mary

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