It is summertime and swimming is a popular activity. When getting into the pool, one of the first questions a young child will ask is, “How deep is the water?” It is scary to get into water over your head if one does not know how to swim. There is definitely safety in knowing the depth of the water. When I think of myself as a spiritual swimmer, I realize that I like to know the depth of what I will be encountering with God. The Lord has set before me the depths of faith to which He desires to take me, but I also have control over how deep I choose to go.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured
off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.
He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was
knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water
that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was
a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep
enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.
In Ezekiel 47, the prophet describes the river that is shown to him. I notice that the water is gradually getting deeper. In verse 3, it simply covers the ankles. In verse 4, the water comes up to the knees and then the waist. Finally in verse 5, the water is deep enough for swimming. While in a pool of water, I may prefer to be in deeper water but I am not so sure about depth when it comes to spiritual water. However, I remember some of Paul’s words in I Corinthians 10:13, “And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” To put this into swimmer’s language, Paul is assuring me that God will not lead me into water where I will not be safe. Although I may be hesitant to dive in as deeply as the Lord may desire, I must remember that He will keep me safe in His arms regardless of the depth of the spiritual waters. Deuteronomy 33:27 assures me, “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.” The Lord’s arms are encircling me like a life-preserver! I can have the tendency to limit God by not fully trusting Him to take care of my life. I need to remember Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” God does not limit how deep I go – I do. Ephesians 3:18 says that I may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ but I must be willing to jump into the spiritual waters if I am to comprehend the capacity of Christ’s pool of love. I ask myself, “How deep will my faith allow me to go?” God controls the depth of the water. Do I trust Him enough to jump into spiritual waters that I think are over my head? I have to remember that the Lord is already in the water and He is waiting with outstretched arms to catch me when I jump.
Thinking back to the scripture of Ezekiel 47, I find it interesting that each time there is mention of a change of depth in the water, it is by the measurement of 1000 cubits. (FYI: a cubit is 1.5 feet) In numerical symbolism, 1000 represents the completion of a season. I begin to understand how the Lord takes me into deeper waters by allowing me to go through different seasons of trials and temptations. Through each season, or 1000 cubits, my faith is strengthened and deepened. I develop the strength and endurance to swim in deeper spiritual waters without having the assurance of my feet being able to touch firm ground. II Corinthians 5:7 says “we walk by faith, not by sight.” Maybe I need to say that I swim by faith in deep water, not by keeping my feet on visible ground. As I live for the Lord, He will take me a few feet deeper through the waters He has established just for me day by day, moment by moment, season by season. Ecclesiastes 3:1 NLT says, “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” God has a plan and just as He has ordered the season of summer for swimming in the natural realm, so has He ordered seasons of swimming in the supernatural realm. Ezekiel’s river flowed from the throne of God and increased in depth gradually and safely. The same can be said for the river of life God has planned for me. Hebrews 12:2 informs me that “(Jesus is) the author and finisher of (my) faith.” Therefore, I can say that He knew the depth of the water where my faith began and He knows how deeply He can take me into His river. I can trust Him! I no longer need to ask “How deep is the water?” I can jump into the spiritual swimming pool with full assurance that the Lord knows the depth of the waters and that is all that matters!
In Luke 5:4 NKJV, Jesus challenges Simon to “Launch out into the deep.” Although Jesus was referring to fishing rather than swimming, I think Jesus gives me the same challenge today. He wants me to delve more deeply into understanding His Word and applying it to my daily life. The Lord does not want me to be satisfied with a shallow faith. Corrie Ten Boom has said, “Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible.” If I am to live, or swim, by faith, I must be willing to dive into spiritual waters without seeing the bottom of the pool while believing that the water will never be so deep that it will cause me to sink or drown. Even though it may seem impossible at the moment, I must believe that the Lord will help build up my endurance, or my faith, to swim the required distance when I launch out into the deep waters of life.
My Reader, are you a swimmer? Whether you are swimming physically or spiritually, enjoy the refreshing water. Physically, swimming cools off the body on a hot summer day. Spiritually, swimming refreshes body, soul and spirit in all kinds of weather. Remember God’s promise in Jeremiah 31:25, “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.”