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Lies: Contaminated Water

February 27th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 17-19 (NLT)

 17 An honest witness tells the truth;
      a false witness tells lies.

 18 Some people make cutting remarks,
      but the words of the wise bring healing.

 19 Truthful words stand the test of time,
      but lies are soon exposed.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

The lack of clean water in third world countries is one of the leading causes of disease and death among indigenous people groups.  In many places, families retrieve their drinking water from the same rivers where sewage and garbage are dumped.  This toxic, septic water rapidly advances the spread of sickness.  

But why do they drink something that they know will do them harm?  The answer is simple: in the absence of clean water, dirty water is still preferred over no water at all.  The dirty water may make people sick, but no water will bring a sure and quick death.

Just as there is a universal physical thirst in the body of every human on the planet, there is also an inherent spiritual thirst as well.  I know, I know.  It sounds overly-religious and pious.  Brush away the cobwebs of religion and gaze at this truth without any lenses or bias.  Relationships.  Habits.  Pursuits.  Careers.  Hobbies.  Humankind just can’t sit still . . . we are programmed for pursuit. We reach for something that we don’t have and when we grasp the target, we begin reaching again for something else.

Money doesn’t fix it . . . even millionaires commit suicide.  Romantic love doesn’t satiate it; the divorce rate is still staggering.  Even within the walls of organized church, people can easily float upon a body of water they never drink of.  At the end of the day, the thirst remains.  Humans are more than just entities unto themselves.  It would seem that we constantly seek something else to fill us.  We are not contented to simply be; we need to also be filled with something.  

The second truth of the nature of humanity is that what fills us eventually flows out of us . . . most predominantly through our words.  Even my seven-month old daughter is capable of expressing what emotions are within her through a form of verbal communication . . . trust me, she communicates loud and clear!  What’s in will always come out; it’s only a matter of time.

Thus, the issue of truthfulness is one of the most crucial defining points of faith.  Why?  Because it is a direct litmus test of the substance within us.  Lying is so easy . . . so natural.  In its purest form, lying is usually a tactic for self-preservation . . .a smoke screen designed to distract the onlooker from who we really are what we’ve really done.  Just ask Adam and Eve . . . covering your embarrassment with “leaves of lying” is just the natural thing to do.

Again, wisdom addresses the greatest issues of life with simplistic profundity.  “An honest witness tells the truth; a false witness tells lies.”  That’s probably not a revelation, but rather the honest truth that leads us forward.  “Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.”  Again, the consistency of our substance will pour forth from our verbal spouts: our mouths.  We can slice and dice with our lies and anger, or we can bring healing.

The last tidbit of this passage is one that I’m still surprised people don’t understand.  “Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed.”  Every time!  Trust me, truth will always be revealed.  When students or adults alike present me with situations in which their character is falsely defamed or their actions are in question, I always reply with complete confidence:  Just hang on . . . truth will always present itself.

In this respect then, lying is nothing more than a poisoned, temporary solution to our thirst.  Like contaminated water, lying words are wet to the lips and possibly even refreshing to the tongue.  But in the end, they will always bring sickness and destruction.  In our culture today, the sickness of lying has reached epidemic levels.  But when we speak truth, our words “bring healing.”  They are not only refreshing to the thirst of those around us, they are pure enough to sustain health for the long haul.

In the absence of truth, people will drink lies.  We may not be exposed to third-world conditions, but we are pouring forth something into the lives of our culture.  I want my life to drip with truth, not with contamination.



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