There’s something about the ocean that is magical. The sound of the waves crashing onto the shore, the salt spray, and the tide heals and energizes. For almost forty years I have lived with fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes widespread muscular pain, and affects my sleep and mood. Near-constant headaches are a pain in the neck. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.) Exercising, eating well, and minimizing stress help, but the only thing I’ve found to manage my flareups is the ocean.
Many years ago, my husband and I took our kids on a beach vacation in Florida. The day before we were to return home, I suddenly recognized how great I felt. I’d been sleeping like a baby with minimal medication and had cut back drastically on my ibuprofen intake without even realizing it (from nine to twelve tablets a day to only one or two). I was more at peace, too, and believe me, traveling with teenagers is no picnic.
In more recent years, vacations have been scarce. Job stress and family trauma were debilitating, but my husband and I couldn’t get away because of the pandemic. Our schedules finally freed up enough to sneak away. We packed up the truck and Fitzy the Rescue Dog, and hit the road for the Sunshine State once again… a serious drive from Minnesota.
And it happened again. The ocean was like a balm to my body and soul, and my anxiety and pain were washed away. I had to look at why I feel so good near the sea. Is it just in my imagination, or is there something else to it?
In his groundbreaking book, Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do, Wallace J. Nichols, PhD, a research associate at the California Academy of Sciences, wrote, “We are beginning to learn that our brains are hard-wired to react positively to water and that being near it can calm and connect us, increase innovation and insight, and even heal what’s broken.” He believes water is the elixir and source of life. It covers over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, makes up nearly 70 percent of our bodies, and constitutes over 70 percent of our heart and brains.
President John F. Kennedy also referred to our connection to the ocean during his remarks at the dinner for the America’s Cup crews on September 14, 1962: “And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea—whether it is to sail or to watch it — we are going back from whence we came.”
The sacred number 70 is used 61 times in the Bible. Here are a few references:
- The Old Testament lists 70 descendants of Noah after the Great Flood.
- 70 different names are given to God.
- There were 70 Tribal Clans of Israel.
- They spoke 70 languages after the destruction of the Tower of Babel
- 70 people went to Egypt with Jacob to escape the famine.
- Moses translated the Torah into 70 languages.
- The holy city of Jerusalem has 70 different names in scripture.
- Moses appointed 70 elders in the desert.
- The prophet Ezekiel saw 70 elders of Israel offering incense to their idols.
- Ancient Israel spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon.
- 70 years after the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem, the construction of the Second Temple
- In 70 BC, the Roman Siege of Jerusalem began and the Second Temple was destroyed.
- 70 years is the human life span cited in Psalm90:10.
- The Egyptians mourned the death of Jacob for 70 days.
- 70 elders composed Israel’s great tribunal, which was eventually called the Sanhedrin.
- Jesus sent 70 disciples (some versions say 72) to preach the gospel to the surrounding area.
Of course, Jesus mentions water baptism several times in the Bible, but John 4:13-14 is one of the most significant passages about water. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
I hope to live by the sea one day, but I daily drink the living water Jesus has freely given. The peace it gives me is beyond description.
Until next time,
** I took these photos on Okaloosa Island (Fort Walton Beach), Florida before, during, and after a thunderstorm