I have a confession to make, when I got my 25 meters swimming certificate, aged 7 or 8, I had one foot on the pool floor.
I guess even then I wanted to keep some idea of control, of security, I didn’t want to be out of my depth.
Ezekiel 47: The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. 3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.
Here we see a picture of water streaming from the temple -the temple represents God’s presence- and water is the source of life (water is mentioned at the start of creation), New life, cleansing, restoration and thirst quenching. Later in the passage we see the Dead Sea being restored by the fresh water, which is pictured as water teaming with life, filled with fish.
Water too is an image of the Holy Spirit and the Kingdom of God (check out the Woman at the well in Samaria). This water sounds amazing and inviting, calling for us to dive into it.
What the Spirit is doing is unstoppable, the issue is never God’s ability to move, but rather whether or not we want to participate and partner with him.
I sometimes think of this passage when talking to some of our more difficult types in Church, thinking we can’t actually stop what God is wanting to do, I am reminded of King Canute sat on his throne at the seas edge trying (obviously unsuccessfully) to order the waves to stop. Are our Churches sometimes like this? Are we sometimes like this?
Instead let’s jump in…
Here in the passage above we see the water rising further up from the person, from ankle deep, to knee, to waist deep, to out of our depth and we have to swim for it.
It made me think that often as Christians we are called to go deeper with God, and yet most of us stay in the baby pool, lark around in the shallow end, play at being a Christian but remaining firmly within our comfort zone.
Yet the problem is when we do go deeper, we still often go deeper with God but remain in control, we move towards him and all he has for us, but we do so on our terms. Ironically if everyone else is up to their ankles if we are up to our knees we sound mature and Godly, yet still are living far, far short of what God has for us.
The water rising to our waist. When wading through water, we can feel its pull, we can feel where it is trying to lead us, but we are still pretty much in control of whether we go with the water or against it. I spoke on Sunday about being in step, in harmony with the spirit, going with the flow of the water is the call for the Christian.
We might be in Christ, but are we walking obediently with the spirit? Also, there is a choice here do we who are wading through the water choose the speed and pace of progress or do we let the water guide us?
And lastly the water raising above our heads, causing us to be out of our depth, causing us to be swimming.
Yet how many of us -if we are truly honest- are a bit like me with my 25 meters swimming badge having one foot on the bottom of the pool?
Lets swim with God, a picture of surrender, a picture of the current taking us where God wants us to be, going at his speed, being directed by him and without us having those unhelpful elements of control.