One of the things I fail to understand about Jasper is why he insists on drinking from puddles, when I provide him with a bowl of beautifully clean fresh water. I know he's a dog, but surely he doesn't enjoy the feeling of grit on the teeth and silt in the throat. Even when I present him with Adam's ale after a parched walk of much panting, we will wait beside the back door and once released into the garden, go and find the grim contents of an unused plant pot and lap away!
The problem is that I learnt from the Bible today that I am just like Jasper. Sadly not because I'm as athletic as him and fortunately I do have marginally better breath! But when it comes to rejecting fresh water and finding a stagnant pool to drink from I'm just the same.
When the Lord wants to explain to his people through the prophet Jeremiah why He is so offended by them he says this:
“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
broken cisterns that cannot hold water." (Jeremiah 2:13)
Sin 1 is to reject the beautiful clear living water of knowing God and trusting Him. To reject the life giver who promises to love His people even when they fail to love him. To reject the one who chose to be forsaken at the cross, where His love was nailed into history and forgiveness written in the blood of His Son.
Sin 2 is to try and find your own source of life, meaning, purpose, love and security amongst the grubby, God rejecting philosophies and ideas of the world around us.
Here are some of the puddles I have and still, from time to time, drink from:
a. If I am in control things will be better.
b. If I run like a mad man and go to the gym till you can see the veins on my guns I will be admired by others and more confident.
c. If I eat that extra food I will be happier. If I'm really sad I need to keep eating until I feel happy. This doesn't work. I just feel bloated and guilty.(Unfortunately b & c have proved mutually exclusive in my life so far!)
d. If everyone keeps the house tidy and does just what I want I'll be happy. (I think this might be a. again!)
e. If people ask me to speak at that conference or the church grows or people read my blog then I'll be someone of significance.
f. If folk see how humble I am then they'll praise me. (I know that this is deeply ironic!)
And whilst I do all this my Father in heaven holds out a big bowl of fresh water and says:
"Don't worry I love you and am in control of the details of your life. Don't look for contentment or security in yourself, look for it in the certainty of my promises and the security of my love. You don't need to prove yourself, you're a child of God through grace. If you try to please me you will find a life really worth living."
Or as Jesus put it to a woman who had been drinking from the puddle of multiple failed relationships in John 4:13
“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 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.”
Now I'm off to have a cake, before taking the dog for a walk and returning home to complain about the mess in the kitchen!