About a year ago we added a puppy to our family. She has brought a lot of joy to our home. There have been some ups and downs as there always are with a puppy, but more and more I notice the positives.
Yes, she is a dog, but she is also a teacher. It is amazing how God can transplant His presence and instruction into any person, place, thing or situation. Like a chameleon, God’s truths adapt to all surroundings. As we become familiar with Him, we develop a keen eye and acute ear for His presence, and the areas where He is convicting our hearts.
I see valuable lessons in the life of our puppy every day. By the way, her name is Paisley, which means, the church. It only fits that she would bear a name that is indicative of a place where people go to learn, grow and feel loved.
Loved. Is that not the deepest inclination of so many hearts? Few people this side of the garden know a more pure, rich form of unadulterated and genuine love than that of a dog. If only I were half as good most days as I am every day in Paisley’s eyes. If I loved like her, always unconditional, cheerful and consistent, how my joy would multiply. She is an example of how to love and be loved with no hesitation, terms or conditions. She is an example of how Jesus loves us!
Many people have reported this kind of organic love and loyalty of dogs. Although it is a highly important lesson, and one I am thankful she reminds me of daily, God has revealed much more to me through Paisley.
There is an area on our sidewalk that forms a corner. Dirt and rainwater collect there, making it a well of dirty water. This dirty water has become an alluring temptation for Paisley. She has fresh, clean, life sustaining water available to her all day. Her water bowl sits in the same place, and it never moves. Invariably Paisley will scratch the door to go out in order to run for a drink of the dirty water.
Yesterday in my frustration of her repetitive, wrong and potentially hazardous behavior, I went out to stand guard over the murky water. As I was walking towards her with her head down drinking, a teaching moment transpired in my head. I am a lot like Paisley! I have a Savior, who is always present and immoveable. He provides an abundance of fresh, living water to me every day. I know that. I know where the living water is and Who it comes from, but how many times in my flesh born tendency do I opt for dirty water?
I am running after dirty water every time my eyes, ears, heart, and mind become attracted to the idols of this world. I run after dirty water each time I try and maneuver my plans into alignment with my wishes, not the will of my Father. I am drinking dirty water when I worry or plan excessively, which in reality is control indigenous to unbelief. I am resorting to dirty water when I lose my patience with my children, husband or someone who thwarts my purpose, or threatens my misplaced righteousness. I am running to dirty water when I forget prayer as my first line of defense and look for solutions inherent of the world. I am running after dirty water when I look to anesthetize a desire in anything outside of Jesus.
There are so many instances I run after dirty water. It is comforting to me that Jesus is not surprised by this. Nor is He disappointed in me. His well of nourishing water is always available, and it rests under an umbrella for sinners like me who need to run back and find a refreshing drink in the shade of His amazing grace.
Whose water are you drinking; that drawn from the soil or that flowing from The Savior? It is never too late to switch sources. This verse in Isaiah is equivalent to a cool, cleansing drink of regenerative water.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Father, forgive us all the times we run for dirty water. You know this is our sinful inclination. You also know our hearts true desire is to grow in obedience to You. When we squander our focus, gently redirect our gaze back to you, the only source that will adequately quench our thirst. May we find rest in your patience and grace. Amen.