Toxic Water

Joshua Schied

READ : Psalm 124

The flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us. (v. 4)

In Scripture, water isn’t always a cleansing, life-giving substance. Often it represents danger and death. God destroyed the earth in the flood (Gen. 6:17). After the Israelites crossed the Red Sea on dry ground, the waters rushed in, drowning the pursuing Egyptians (Exod. 14:23-28). In today’s psalm, dangerous water rages and floods, threatening to sweep the people away. Even the waters of baptism play a mercifully violent role in scrubbing away our old self in order to make way for new life in Christ.

Water can be dangerous in two ways: it can be dammed up or it can flash flood. Stagnant pond water is dangerous when it collects disease and turns undrinkable. Raging flood waters leave scars in the earth as they erode away land.

Our own lives can inflict these same kinds of wounds. It is easy to become like stagnant water by not extending Christian love to our neighbors. Other times, our evangelical zealousness is like a flash flood. Our efforts for “mission” can scar our neighbors and ourselves, whom God has formed as people from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7).

But like God’s promise in the water of baptism, water can also be healing and provide nourishment for life. We can be a healing agent in the lives of our neighbors by extending to them the same love that we first received from God.


Merciful God, teach us to walk with your grace.