“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.”
A few years back there was a story on the BBC’s Doctor Who called “The Waters of Mars.” In it, some kind of malevolent beings were infecting the population of a Mars base through the groundwater. The Doctor and his associates struggled valiantly against their liquid foe, but it was very tough to keep out. In the midst of their travails, our hero uttered the following: “Water is patient…water just waits. Wears down the cliff tops, the mountains. The whole of the world. Water always wins.”
He’s right, of course. Water always wins. It makes canyons and changes landscapes. Dirt, rocks…not even metal has a chance against it over time. The chaos it brings tears everything down.
I thought about this idea as I once again encountered Jesus’ short parable in Matthew 7. By juxtaposing the man who builds his house on the sand with the one who builds upon the rock, He makes an important point. Namely, that the foundation of our life matters. The storms of life–both those common to humanity and the one more finely attuned to our own personal existence–will come without question. They will assault us and threaten to tear down our very being. Being foolish about it and laying down no strong foundation is not the path to success or survival. The storms will simply destroy us.
But then I’d submit this: even building on a rock will not save me in the long run. Why? Because water always wins. Give it enough time, and it will breach every barrier, erode every boulder. It will take me down. Take a look at the Grand Canyon and tell me that building a house on a rock in the middle of that river would have saved you.
I realize I’m being hyperbolic here. After all, while water will erode even the strongest foundation, canyons aren’t forming in our lifetime. It takes time. Nevertheless, earthly rocks like that just aren’t ultimately secure. Not forever. Nothing on this earth is. Which must, of course, point us somewhere beyond.
It is wiser to build your life on something solid in this world than on something passing, yes. But even the former will inevitably fail. There’s got to be something–or some One–else. A sure Rock much better than all these terrestrial ones. And (of course) there is: He’s the one telling the story in the first place.
Water always wins. With one exception.