Monday morning. We wake this morning to cold wet rain. Since the pond is nearly empty, I know I need to go ahead and clean it out before refilling it. I wait until afternoon so that it is a little warmer outside. I pump the remaining water out as best I can. Then I begin to scoop out the rocks to clean them. Ungh! The rocks are sititng in foul-smelling sludge. I take the rocks out a small bucket full at a time and hose them off, then make a pile of the cleaned rocks. Finally all the rocks are out, but there is still a lot of the foul-smelling sludge. I use the hose to clean the sides and stir the remaining gunk around. A shop vac is then pulled into service to get out all the rest of the water and sludge. The rocks are replaced. The filter is cleaned and repostitioned with the pump/fountain. I refill the pond with water. It is clear. I can see the rocks in the bottom. I go next door to retrieve our fish--thankfully they are still alive. I release them back into our newly-clean pond. They seem happy to be home. I know I am pleased with the fresh gurgling water.
As I worked at this unwelcome task, I began to think about how the pond is like my heart. Last winter, when we turned the pump off, the whole pond became a black-water refuse of rotting leaves and debris. That winter the fish did not survive. If I turn Jesus "off" in my heart, it becomes black and full of foul-smelling debris that leads to death. If I leave him "on", although the leaves and debris continue to fall, He filters the bad stuff out and keeps the water fresh and full of life. Without Him, my heart is full of sin and there is no hope of life. But with Him, He filters the sin (through His own blood) and provides the way of hope. And the really good news is that the "Jesus filter" is always clean--it never needs cleaning or replacing. He is a one-time for all time filter. The only way it stops working is if we unplug it, or if we continue in willful sin to a point that our own ugly foul-smelling debris clogs it up.
Father, I thank you for the living water that fills my heart--living water because it has been filtered by your Love through His blood. Please help me to walk in His ways so as not to allow the rotting debris to collect in my heart and clog the filter. Let me always bubble-over with your living water and bring pleasure to you and life to others. Thank you for loving me. I love you.
...The water I give will become a spring of water gushing up inside that person, giving eternal life. John 4:14b NCV