When my hubby Robby and I were on our honeymoon, we saw the craziest thing. It was 2011, and we were in St. Lucia, which is basically heaven on earth. It’s just absolutely amazing, from the unbelievable scenery to the beautiful people.
The morning after our arrival, we strolled down to the main area where they served a scrumptious breakfast buffet. The weather is always around 70 degrees there, so the inside dining area spills out onto the patio, which opens onto a pool deck. But what took our breath away was the view beyond. The island trees were in full bloom, silhouetting a beach in an array of blues and turquoise. We couldn’t wait to finish breakfast and put our toes in the sand!
We started walking past the pool to the narrow stairs leading to the beach, and that’s when we noticed it. There were about a hundred lawn chairs surrounding the pool, and every one of them was full. However, only a handful of people were on the beach. We put our people-watching skills in action that week and were horrified at what we realized: hundreds of people spent thousands of dollars to travel to paradise only to sit by a chlorinated pool the entire time. Not in the pool, just by the pool. We didn’t see any of these folks on the whale-watching tour, the jeep tour of the volcano, or the horse-back riding adventure on the beach. (Yes, we really did try to see the whole island on our trip!)
Robby and I are celebrating our fourth anniversary this week, and we have talked about those crazy poolside-dwellers off and on throughout the years. I knew God was trying to show me something about Himself in that situation, but I didn’t get the bigger picture of it until today.
I was reminded that throughout the Bible, Jesus is symbolized as a body of moving water and even refers to Himself as the Living Water in the New Testament. (John 4:10-11; John 7:38) Moving water means there is a current, which is necessary to wash away chemicals, bacteria, and even pollution. Without a current, a body of water is stale and is more likely to hold impurities that can be life-threatening. In fact, to make pools safe for swimming, we have to add chlorine or other chemicals.
I was thinking about this Living Water, this Jesus who calls us to a cleansing, refreshing faith that satisfies the soul, and I was grieved to think that, too often, we settle for less. We decide the trek down to the beach is a little too far, that it’s just not necessary to go all that way when something perfectly reasonable and satisfyingly similar is right here. So we settle for the boring fake stuff like everyone else and, if we feel really brave, we dip our toe in the shallow end.
Perhaps it’s ignorance that keeps us by the pool, or perhaps it’s fear of the unknown. Both are understandable, but both are detrimental. Yes, there are a lot of crazy, heartrending things that can happen along the way to a deeper life with God, but He has told us that it is for our own good. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
You may have heard the song Oceans by Hillsong. In it, they sing, “You call me out upon the waters, The great unknown where feet may fail, And there I find You in the mystery, In oceans deep My faith will stand, And I will call upon Your name, And keep my eyes above the waves.…”
Oh, what we miss when God calls us to the ocean deep and we settle for the kiddy pool! Let this be our prayer: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders, Let me walk upon the waters, Wherever You would call me, Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, And my faith will be made stronger, In the presence of my Savior.” (Oceans, Hillsong)