THE DANGER OF MURKY WATER
When people who have never visited Arizona ask what it’s like, my answer is usually the same. We went from cactus, dirt, and no water to trees, grass, and lots of water. Now, obviously there is water in Tucson (some of the best tasting water I might add), but it is not found in abundance as it is out here. Both rivers in Tucson (the Santa Cruz and the Rillito) are dried up, and Lake Kennedy (a lake about 10 acres with a max depth of 12 feet) might be considered a pond to most people in these parts.
To escape the desert heat, many people in Tucson have swimming pools. There are backyard pools (some of which I may or may not have entered by jumped off a local roof or two, but good luck getting a confession out of me), community pools, apartment pools, and as shocking as it may sound there have even been a couple of water parks to find success out in the good old Sonoran Desert. And you want to know what every one of these pools had in common? They were crystal clear. They may have had enough chlorine to blind the one foolish enough to open their eyes under water, but it was clear. And we experienced a huge change when we left Arizona.
Pools away from the Grand Canyon State are far and few in between. When we do see them, they are usually above ground, and it wasn’t hard to find out why things were so different…We are now surrounded by the natural waters all around us! Rivers, and creeks, and lakes…oh my! Seeing lake Michigan for the first time was like looking out into the Pacific Ocean, water as far as the eye could see.
So, I took the family to one of these “ocean lakes” in southern Illinois called Rend Lake. A lake so big, to us it seemed like being on the beach at the ocean. But we ran into a problem when we entered the waters of that lake that made us very uncomfortable, we couldn’t see anything at all! It was far too murky! All the water in Arizona we went swimming in was crystal clear, and here it was we couldn’t even see our hands or a foot beneath the surface. So not only did we have no idea how deep the water we were in actually was, but it was also an eerie feeling when we felt movement around us. It could have been a little 6-inch Bluegill, it could have been a 20 foot Great White Shark or a 98 foot Blue Whale. Just to be clear, I understand these saltwater dwelling creatures can’t exist in a freshwater lake, but because I could see what was swimming around me and after hearing stories about how big cat fish can get, I can assure you whatever it was brushing up against us was as big as a Blue Whale in my mind. We might as well have been swimming blind.
The danger of murky water is this: the inability to see dangerous or potential threats until it is too late. It is not having clarity on where we are or the risk of our current position. The same problem is had when swimming in the murky, cloudy waters of this world, when danger lurks close by, we can’t see the threat until it is already upon us. And as the mind can convince us things are worse than they actually are (mistaking a Bluegill for a Blue Whale), the mind can also convince that things are better than they actually are because things are unclear.
2 Corinthians 4:3-4—
3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
Being under water in a clear pool, one knows just how far they are from the surface; they know the depth beneath them, how far they are from the edge, and all that is around them. But in muddy, murky waters, one is blind to these things. Satan works on spiritually blinding the masses, making sure they don’t see the light of the Gospel, and if they have seen it, doing His best to cause them to lose sight of it once again. How close we were to death, how dangerous our positioned in the waters of this world, with the devil circling our souls.
2 Timothy 3:16-17—
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The Scriptures are powerful, they teach, they correct, they train so that we may be complete, ready, and equipped. Keeping with this analogy, God through the Scriptures makes clear what satan has made blurry. He gives sight and light to the dark, blinding waters of the world. It is as if God provides the solution to make clear the waters all around us. I will never know what was swimming next to us that day in Rend Lake, but I do know with God I can see trouble now from the boat that is the safety of His right hand, and I don’t even have to worry about chlorine.