Every day on the drive to school, I pass a little pond. Nestled between two small hills and partially hidden by trees, I doubt many passersby notice it, but the little body of water catches my eye daily.
What first drew my attention was not the pond’s size nor location, but the smooth green layer of algae that covers it like a velvety green carpet beckoning my bare feet. I doubt any interior designer has ever used that shade of green to decorate a space, though.
Yes, I’d like that in scummy green, please.
Some weeks after I first began to notice the pond, a hard rain came in the midst of a big storm. The little pond’s green robe and train went missing and the murky water was completely exposed. The water now held no particular attraction of its own. Indeed, were it to look that way all the time, I might never have noticed the pond in the first place.
With time and an absence of rain, however, I noticed the green covering growing back—a thick, even carpet upon the water.
Each time rain fell, the scum would disappear, but it would always quickly return, sometimes covering the pond in the space of a day. That got me to thinking: no matter how many times the rain falls, it will never completely wash away that algae. The pond scum will continue to grow back because conditions are favorable.
That’s when I began to learn something from the little pond. I paid closer attention.
When a dry spell hit, the algae grew thick and lush because there was no disrupting force of rain against the surface of the water. Scum thrives in still water with nothing to hinder its growth. By this time, the even sheen of algae green seemed to have an other-worldliness about it.
Then it rained again, a substantial rain. On my morning drive, I expected to see murky water exposed, but what I saw astonished me: the thick, green carpet was mostly intact. Amazing.
I wondered how hard the rain would have to fall in order to break up the pond’s green covering now.
That’s when it hit me: this scummy pond is a precise metaphor for my own life.
You see, I used to be like the Pharisees—those white-washed tombs. Except I was a velvety green pond full of murky water.
My pride and self-sufficiency robed me like a cloak of sickly green “goodness.”
A series of hard rains—crises, trials, difficulties, and traumatic events—temporarily washed away my cloak of green and exposed the murkiness beneath. But once the rain stopped, I settled into comfortable conditions once again and my pride grew back. The longer life remained easy and comfortable, the thicker the scum grew and the more painful it was to have an even harder rain clear it away.
Indeed, without a stirring of the waters within—a regular flow of fresh water moving through to infuse clarity and remove scum—my little pond will never be fully clean.
Only when I let the Living Water of Christ stir deeply within me am I able to live free and clear of the scum which so easily besets me. This Water of Life bubbles up and overflows, carrying my sin as far as the east is from the west.
Only His deep well of Living Water can turn my scummy pond into an oasis.
Jesus answered him, “If I do not wash you, you have no share with me.” John 13:8
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.