e-Literature

What Water Are You Drinking?

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It was supposed to be a relaxing weekend at the cabin with friends from Bible school. Tucked away in the hills of Pennsylvania and back a long lane, it would seem that all the troubles of ordinary life should be easy to leave behind. But now he was faced with a choice. One of the friends had a laptop and a DVD. The options were not really attractive. Upstairs there was a game going, but they had their four players and did not need another. Downstairs was the rest of the group intent on watching some modern comedy. He could go to bed, but no one goes to bed early when on vacation! He could speak out and stop his friends, as he probably should have. He had to choose. What would you have decided?
It is not for nothing that God told man in Deuteronomy 30:15-19, See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil…; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
We are familiar with the concept of good versus evil. We talk about making good choices and bad decisions. We ask for opinions and check reviews when we make purchases or select a contractor. In our lives, we wish to have good experiences.
Seldom do we think of our life choices in terms of life and death. This is probably simply because the words seem far too dramatic for day to day decisions. Perhaps we would live our lives differently if we took a more dramatic view.
Consider this view as viewed through something so ordinary as water. In America, water is ubiquitous. We assume we will always have access to water, plenty of it, and good water, always. Water gives life and is necessary for survival. Water is good. Or is it? Water can also be harmful. There is an entire industry dedicated to correcting the impurities in water. In some countries and even some areas of America, that the water is has been contaminated and is no longer “good.” This water, when consumed, becomes a detriment to life. If you knew that you were about to drink water that could ultimately wreck your health, I believe most of us would opt to find another source of water.
The same medium that can bring life can also bring death. God speaks in Jeremiah 2:13 of his people forsaking Him the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns… that hold no water. The problem of replacing the fountain is not new.
Day to day life choices are just like drinking water. Either we are taking our refreshment from a clear, clean, life-giving stream, or we are imbibing dirty and contaminated waters. The waters we choose may actually appear innocuous and seem to be pure. We may choose water that has “just a little” impurity in it, assuming we are robust enough to stand up to the detriments in it. Few of us would stop to consider a puddle of ugly brown water left over after a storm. Or, maybe we would?
Let me return to the story I started with. This was a group of young men who all said they were Christians. They were all even conservative Mennonite church members. It may be argued that they all had good hearts and did wish to follow after God. So, what is the problem then with enjoying a bit of outside entertainment?
The problem was with the “water” they were drinking. The comedy entertainment of choice that evening was from the secular film capital of the world. It had no redeeming value save that of a good laugh and about an hour’s worth of empty captivation. Its values could not even be argued as being remotely God-fearing. The jacket and blurbs for the DVD indicated what lay inside. This water they were about to drink for a whole hour was contaminated.
This story I give is already dated. Today, no laptop or DVD is needed. Most young people carry phones that are capable of accessing this kind of water via many different means. A simple subscription to an innocent-sounding streaming account can send this contaminated water streaming into your life. Constant is the movement by the tech firms to make this content easier to access and from almost any angle. No legislation can stop you from drinking this water. The choice must be yours.
Streaming. Did I mention music? Everyone knows when we embark on a topic such as this, there will always be mention of music. We talk about it often, and maybe this is why it can have the effect of the boy who cried wolf. Perhaps we have wearied ourselves by beating the horse.
I was talking recently with a young man who has tasted the water of the world. No, tasted is not strong enough. He drank of the world’s filthy water with reckless abandon. The Lord graciously opened his eyes, and he switched sources. In our conversation, he asked me about music, and I admitted I enjoy studying music and music genres, and I also admitted that music can be very captivating and addictive. His reply was, “music is spiritual.”
Music is indeed spiritual. But spiritual does not necessarily signify life. Satan claimed possession of the musical “waters” of this world immediately upon establishing himself as prince of this world. We would quickly point out that we do not participate in nor wish to be part of any music that is Satanic. But here the Deceiver is very wise. He has created an alternative: music that seems to give recognition to God while upholding all the goals of the world. You decide; can music that is contaminated with rebellion against authority, filled with deliberate debauchery, and generally glorifying the life of party and fun be considered a safe fountain to drink from? Do you suppose it is safe to drink the water even if it is a little bit contaminated? Will the little bit of contamination be siphoned off, and you go on with life as before, or will the good go through the sieve and leave the dirt behind? I believe we all know the answer.
What will you decide? Is a little bit of contamination safe?
I’m going to venture further onto thin ice. What about the spiritual water we drink through what we read? Perhaps you are not a bookworm type and do little reading. I give to you, however, that you need not be a bookworm and still find yourself having to choose between life and death.
Here is one example. What do you reach for first in the morning when the alarm goes, your phone, or your Bible? I know, with shame, what my answer too often is. You may not consider checking your phone to be reading, but if perusing it takes place over reading the Word of God, then you have just been ready from a side stream. Even though what you saw on your phone was all good, it is still a faulty stream.
I will plunge in further. To whom should we attribute many of the books to be found in your local bookstore or available for purchase in your audiobook library? A skillfully written book is designed to pull the reader in so well that he finds himself vicariously living the story. This may not seem so much a problem until we consider what character we may subconsciously assumed. To repeatedly place ourselves deeply into books that encourage and glorify a character who is openly unscriptural will influence us subtly. If you wish to disagree as to how this could be, I know of a man who followed the British royal family news so avidly that when Princess Diana died, he commented that he almost felt like he knew her! I especially appeal to young women who enjoy a good romance novel. Stop to consider what the appeal of your reading material is to your soul. The spiritual water that comes from most novels is never clean water.
The choice is yours. You will have to decide. Never will there be enough accountability to make sure the waters you drink from are spiritually safe. Never will there be enough preaching from the pulpit, never enough writing, never enough teaching that will convince those who do not wish to be convinced. As long as we live in the world, we must be on guard against contaminated waters.
The only salvation is to drink from the Word as we have been promised in John 4:14, that Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.