We were real excited back in 1996, when we moved into our new house. And the big draw was the in-ground swimming pool...
My 6 children were elated when they saw that pool. We moved in when it was cold, but that didn't stop them. They endured the chill of the water and dove in. I, too, was thrilled about the pool.
But I had no idea what awaited me in terms of the work I would have to put into that thing...
I soon learned that swimming pools are like newborn babies: they have no ability to take care of themselves. They require constant maintenance: chlorine input, removing debris and algae, back-washing, cleaning out the pump, and about a thousand other things pool owners have to do.
I considered charging my kids every time they swam in hopes of making up for the time I invested in this "monster" (that was my name for it) who now demanded my constant attention. If I ignored the "beast" (the other name I gave it) for a few days, it would turn an ugly green.
My wife kept reminding me of the joy the children were experiencing. Unfortunately, that "joy" always seemed to elude me...
One of the biggest frustrations in maintaining a pool, I quickly found out, was having to keep the water flowing - unhindered - when the pump is activated. Leaves and other debris make their way into the pipes and slow down, and sometimes clog, the water flow. When this happens, the pool doesn't keep its clear look (and the "green look" takes over).
Such was the case (again) recently. I had been wondering why the water wasn't "blasting" through the pipes, causing the sweeper to work with the vigor it's supposed to have. All I could think was "what's wrong with this thing...this time?"
It was then that my wife discovered the cause of the poor operation of the pump. She checked the filter attached to the pump and noticed there was a small pink shirt stuck inside the filter (no doubt the work of my 18-month old granddaughter).
The shirt, combined with the leaves that had flowed through the pipes and had also accumulated, had slowed the whole system down....
DID YOU KNOW...
According to the scripture (2 Kings 13), Elisha the Prophet died and was buried. As time passed, the flesh fell from his bones. Then, one day, some folks hurriedly buried another man, placing him in the same grave as Elisha was.
Do you know what happened when that dead man's body touched the bones of Elisha?
We are told they "threw the man's body into Elisha's tomb. When the body touched Elisha's bones, the man came to life and stood up on his feet..."
Imagine that! There was so much "life" in Elisha that even when he was dead, "life" was still oozing out...
And once again life taught me a lesson. This, I realized, was part of what was wrong with my own Christian life. I too easily allow my "pipes" to clog. When this happens I fail to experience what Jesus promised: "He that believes on Me, from his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water..."
The intent of God is for every one of His children to experience the flow of Living Water into - and through - their lives. This living water of which Jesus spoke was a reference to the Holy Spirit. When He flows inside us, and through us, we experience the kind of life He envisioned for us.
When this is our experience, our lives are permeated by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness, and self- control (Galatians 5:22). These traits are nothing less than the "fruit of the Spirit."
And not only do such attributes flow from our heart and lives, and bring the change we need, we also discover that we effect others - and help them to change.
In the book of Acts, it's recorded that when Peter the Apostle walked down the street, people ran toward him in hopes of getting in his shadow...
Why would they do this? Because, "Living Water" (the Spirit of God) was "coming out of Peter" - and those who stepped into its flow were healed.
Sin clogs our pipes! There is no question about this. Whatever is inside us will come out! If sin is the dominant substance, then that's precisely what will flow from our lives. This is why it's so important to allow the Spirit of God to search our hearts, reveal the sin that is "clogging" us - and then confess.
We must NOT make excuses for our sin. We must NOT blame others. We must NOT try to explain why we did what we did. Instead, we MUST confess it, and then trust that the Lord shall forgive and cleanse us (1 John 1:9).