If you’ve ever been to the Dominican Republic in say… June … or August, you can probably remember how satisfying a freezing-cold-partly-frozen water bottle is, after being outside… for like 5 minutes.
You come inside, and you seek it. You chase after it. You look for it because you know how absolutely refreshing it is. Don’t you love when those little frozen slush pieces make it through the hole? The best!
When my students come in from recess, they want to dump out their warm water and get cold water. Most of the time I don’t let them, because hey, stop wasting water. But I understand why they want to get cold water.
So this week, as we studied Holy Week, and the Dominican heat creeped up on us, the water bottle became an excellent object lesson on holiness.
A fresh, partly frozen, never opened water bottle is a lot like holiness. It’s pure, undefiled, and it satisfies. But if I put one tiny droplet of poison into that bottle, would anyone drink it? My students gave a resounding NO WAY. But, there’s so much GOOD WATER in that bottle! It didn’t matter how much I told them about all the good water in that bottle, the tiny bit of poison was enough for them to know … drinking the water would hurt them. It could make them sick. It could kill them.
Ok fine. New scenario!
Brand new bottle of water! Partly frozen, with the slush on top, ready to be enjoyed. But before I offer it to you, I spit in it. Just one. good. spit. Don’t worry, it’s not poison! It won’t kill you! Come on!
Still, the students responded, NO! They used words like “Guacala!” “Asqueroso!” which translate directly to DISGUSTING!
Of course no one is going to drink poisoned water. And you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who’ll drink the water I just spit in.
I wanted them to understand holiness. The poison, the spit is sin. It hurts us. It kills us. And frankly, it’s disgusting! And that’s how God sees it too.
But once that water bottle is contaminated, there’s not really anything we can do to make it new again. And that’s where Jesus comes in! He doesn’t just dump out the water and fill it again with new water. He gives us a completely new water bottle that we offer to God. A holy water bottle, acceptable in front of our Holy God.
II Corinthians 5:17-19
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
This might not be a perfect metaphor, but the way the kids responded to the poison, and to the spit… that is how God responds to sin. It absolutely disgusts him! His holiness cannot tolerate the presence of sin. And that is exactly why He sent Jesus to die for our sins… because God, too, is longing for that satisfying water … that relationship with us. He wants it! He’s actively pursuing it… pursuing us! But He’s not drinking a nasty bottle of water. He won’t. But in Jesus, we have reconciliation. And God is pleased and delighted, and satisfied to have us in his presence, through Jesus’s blood sacrifice.