Water, when it’s being true to its nature, is clear, clean and fresh. It’s useful for drinking, washing, swimming. However, when you walk in it and it leaves a greenish-brownish residue on skin, it can no longer be considered just water.
It’s pond scum.
This is actually the content of most lakes and ponds in Central Florida. It’s why mothers urge their children not to swim in these ponds. Or even play in them. Pond scum is a pain to wash out of clothes. To say nothing of bacteria.
But the mysteries of these small bodies of water draw fascinated children to their shores like–well, fish to bait. Oh, the things that swim in these waters! Small minnows. Even tinier tadpoles. Baby bass. Turtles. All invite these young Huck Finns to explore more closely. To step in and become one with the water. To try and catch these quick critters with whatever was handy.
I pride myself on being a somewhat knowledgeable adult. I do have a certain amount of common sense. I stood on the banks of a pond, watching my grandchildren and their friends dip pails and plastic cups into the water to catch anything that was a littler slower swimming and slower witted. Comments such as, “Don’t go too far out in the water!” or “That gets deep really quickly!” had all the impact of saying, “Hey, that’s wet.” They didn’t even acknowledge that I was talking. They were madly dipping and screaming, “I got three tadpoles!” “Heck, I got four!”
Isley, at two and a half, was valiantly keeping up with the big kids, carrying a red plastic cup and dipping for all she was worth. She developed a rhythm–dip, check it out, dump. And as she hit her stride, she was inching further and further into the water. One moment, her diapered bottom was hovering over the surface. The next moment, she was sitting in it.
We finally got back to the house. Everyone’s feet–and other parts–were gross with pond scum. There’s just nothing positive to say about the stuff–you just want to be done with it.
Yes, I had it on my feet. Who do you think waded out to get Isley? And I needed to get if off me as much as the kids did.
I have areas in my life that are just like that pond scum. The things that draw me in because of their appeal–pride, a critical heart, a judgmental spirit, arrogance–because for the moment it feels good to cast out my thoughts and impress others with what I think or know. But like pond scum, sin clings. It’s the residual effects that feel gross.
“For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against You, and You alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in Your sight…Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” Psalm 51:3, 4, 7
I am drawn to my own kind of pond scum. I recognize that, though I’m not proud of it. Jesus alone can purify me, making me clean. Like fresh-fallen snow.
He alone washes my pond scum away.