I recently went to a science museum and found myself face to face with some barnacles. I had never been interested in barnacles. But I haven’t stopped thinking about them since this encounter. Barnacles are these hideous looking little crustaceans that live in the ocean. They look like an infected zit from an alien life form. They are sessile- which means they can’t move. They are filter eaters.
The National Science Foundation at the University of California at Berkeley has a study about how barnacles store information and a lot can be learned through the study of their fossil records. Scientists can learn about the waters and distance they have been transported- therefore scientists can also learn more about whales.
Which brings me to the essence of my thoughts. I am like a barnacle, a sessile creature that depends on the water currents of my habitat for sustenance.
In it’s larvae stage, as a cypris, a barnacle has the opportunity to choose where it will live the rest of its existence. There are two choices. Take root in the shallows where the food supply exists and fall prey to the other hungry inhabitants there, being dependent on the ocean currents and waves. Or… it could attach itself to a whale. Then, although it still couldn’t move on its own, it would be able to travel the oceans and go to deep and far away places it could never dream of experiencing and traveling to on its own. It would also gain protection from predators since it would be a moving target. Food would always be provided since the algae they eat lives where the whales also go for their buffet. A whale is capable of carrying a thousand pounds of barnacles on their skin and not be encumbered., so it makes a very good home for a colony of barnacles.
A barnacle permanently fuses itself unto the whale’s skin by secreting a cement that pulls the whale’s skin into the spaces between these cement plates as it hardens. Wherever the whale goes so will the barnacle. It is not a symbiotic relationship it is a commensalistic relationship. The whale doesn’t benefit nor is it harmed by their presence, but for a barnacle this is a cruise of a lifetime!
This Bible verse makes me think of the life of barnacles on whales.
“…just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. (Colossians 2:6-7)
I choose to be a barnacle making my home on a whale. I strive to fuse myself to it’s skin so I can go where this “whale” goes. Solidly cemented unto Him. Letting my roots grow down into Him. Building my life on Him. Taking every opportunity to filter and glean truth and grow my faith as we swim through deep or shallow waters. I am very grateful to be like a barnacle clinging to God in this vast ocean we call life. I hope that my “fossil” will tell the story of the Whale that carries me.