March 28 - 2 Peter 2:17-22

Sunday, March 30, 2014

2 Peter 2:17-22 – Springs Without Water

These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.” If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”

In the Gospel of John, Jesus removes thirst from everyone who drinks of the water he gives them. He points to eternity and says, "The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14b). In John 7:37-38, Jesus stood up and said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.' "

Proverbs 13:14 says that "The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death." Water is a wonderful metaphor for the spirit moving out from us, a never ending, joyous outpouring.

Peter knows this analogy well and tells his readers that false teachers are springs without water. They are mists driven by a storm. Jeremiah uses the analogy of dried up wells to describe those who have forsaken God. He says, "Her nobles send their servants for water; they come to the cisterns; they find no water; they return with their vessels empty; they are ashamed and confounded and cover their heads" (Jeremiah 14:3).

Though their words carry no depth, they can harm those who listen to them. They promise freedom, even as they are enslaved by corruption. How often do we fall into the trap of looking for something where there is nothing. We want free airplane tickets or a free computer tablet or tickets to Disney and discover that all we've done is given someone access to our lives and to our friends. We look for freedom and answers, we latch on to diets and money-making schemes, we put our trust in false teachers rather than God … looking for something that is easy, rather than someone that is eternal.

These false teachers would have been better off if they had never been exposed to the good news of Jesus Christ. They knew joy and freedom, chose to leave it behind, and then found it necessary to expose others to their filth. Those who have been drawn away from the Gospel are just as bad, their weakness in returning to the ease of trusting in false teachers will make it that much more difficult for them to return to the holiness that comes from knowing God.

The final verse of this chapter brings up familiar images. Dogs and pigs were both scavengers during the time of Jesus. Garbage was fed to pigs and dogs were not pets, but scavenged through the garbage for food. Both return to the mire of what they have always known … just as those who leave righteousness for their former lives.

The spring of living water must not go dry within us.