Contaminated Water

Contaminated Water

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Flint, Michigan. Dupont, West Virginia. Marlin County, Kentucky. East Orosi, California. Hoosick Falls, New York. These are just a few of the infamous places. In fact, the more you search, the more places you find. The story is always similar. Harmful chemicals and elements seep into the water supply, making people sick, producing fatal conditions, and even outright killing those who drink it. Large lawsuits and even criminal charges are leveled against the offenders. Water is a basic building block of life. We want it to be as pure as possible. Whether ineptitude, laziness, or even willful neglect is the reason why contamination occurs, we find it inexcusable.

Webster’s Dictionary defines eisegesis as the interpretation of a text by reading into it one’s own ideas. Whereas exegesis is an effort to objectively approach a text, eisegesis is subjective. Nowhere is this more dangerous than when approaching the text of Scripture. We can bring so many deadly contaminants to the process, like presuppositions, prejudices, the religious views of others, and existing preferences and desires. In fact, this most often happens when we make up our mind before we even come to the Bible. The Bible actually describes the harmful effect of this approach as to “twist” (ESV, NKJ, NLT) or “distort” (NAS, NIV) the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:16). God accused the wicked of perverting His words (Jer. 23:36). In the strongest terms, He disapproves of those who contaminate the purity of His Word with their own thoughts and ways (Isa. 55:7-9).

John especially highlights Jesus’ offer of “living water” (John 4:10,14; 7:37; Rev. 7:17; 21:6; 22:1,17). While His metaphor concerns eternal life rather than Scripture, we ask an all-important question. How do we get access to this living water? We have to come to Scripture to find the answer. Our buckets must be empty. Our ladles must be clean. Biases are harmful contaminants!

On a mission trip to Tanzania in 2005, Kathy and another campaigner came in contact with water contaminated with the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. I have never seen her sicker. Her temperature repeatedly spiked to 104 degrees. She was weak, lethargic, had severe headaches, and even suffered hallucinations. Thankfully, she recovered. One in five die from it and survivors sometimes suffer complications. The best guess is that a food they ate was rinsed in contaminated water.

When it comes to God’s truth, we cannot allow it to be tainted with the aforementioned contaminants. This means we must go to Scripture, read it in its context, and mine out of it the intended meaning. We cannot afford to let anything seep into the process that prevents a proper understanding and interpretation of the Bible. Eternal life is at stake!

Neal Pollard

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