A Slippery One - the Eel

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Although they are so long and thin that they look like snakes, eels are actually fish. They have tiny scales embedded in a smooth, slimy skin. They usually grow to about three feet long, but larger ones may grow to five or six feet long.
Male eels spend most of their lives in rivers near the ocean; females go upriver to streams or lakes. After two or three years in fresh water, both males and females head for the ocean at spawning time in the fall. Those in landlocked lakes have a difficult time beginning their journey. They leave the lake in great numbers, wriggling their way for a day or two across fields and ground wet with rain or dew until they find a stream that leads to the ocean. God has equipped them with special gills that hold enough moisture while out of water on this part of their trip.
When the eels reach a stream, they swim downstream, joining others on the way. Many of them are caught in wire traps or nets by people who like them for food. Both European and North American eels that make it to the ocean begin a long migration to the breeding grounds in the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda where females deposit thousands of eggs deep below the ocean surface. Here many miles of seaweed is teeming with food which will provide for the needs of baby eels that will appear the following spring. After spawning, the parent eels die.
When the eggs hatch, the young eels are about one-quarter inch long and are thin and transparent. They rise to the surface where they feed for about a year. The North American eels begin the long trip back to the home of their parents. The European eels remain another year to gain the necessary strength for their journey, which will take about three years. When both species reach the stream of their parents, they are still long, thin and transparent and are called elvers. Just like their parents, the males remain in tidal waters, and the females go far inland—the cycle continuing just as God designed it.
How can these little, inexperienced eels reach their destinations with no parents to guide them? The answer is exactly what the Bible tells us of every creature in the seas: "These wait all upon Thee" (Psa. 104:2727These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season. (Psalm 104:27)). He gives them the instinct to follow the paths He has marked out.
And the Lord has a pathway for every boy and girl called "the path of life," which is the way to heaven and everlasting joy. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:66Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)). If we accept Him as our Savior, then we are sure of being on the right path where He can teach us His way.