Fixing Spiritual Problems & Plumbing: An Analogy

Living in North Texas is usually pretty great. But, if there is one problem that characterizes the Texas homeownership experience, it’s a slab leak. The ground is especially prone to movement and foundation issues, and with the heat, the constant expanding and contracting of the pipes just begs for trouble. The past two weeks I have been dealing with the leak that turned my living room into a small swamp. Of course, I called several plumbers to get bids. I experienced some good, some bad, and some very ugly estimates for the work to be completed. When it was all said and done, though, I realized that the situation was actually a pretty good analogy for the proper way to go about fixing spiritual problems.

The Problem

The problem all started about a week and a half ago. I noticed that when I stepped into my living room from my kitchen, there was a definite “squish” to the carpet that hadn’t been there before. By the next day, the little squish had turned into a big “sploosh” that was about 4 feet across. Thus began the parade of plumbers over the next five days.

The Plumbers

The first plumber charged us $79 to use a giant stethoscope to listen for a leak. He pronounced a breach in the middle of the kitchen floor and gave an estimate of $5,900 to drill under the house to get to the pipes where he believed the leak to be. He said a re-route could be done for $6,900, but he didn’t recommend it. 

The second one wanted $400 to use state of the art equipment to detect where the leak was coming from. He said that this was preferable to the alternative, which was jackhammering through the kitchen tile where he thought the leak was until he found it. He couldn’t give me a true estimate until he saw the leak detection report. However, he anticipated that it would be around $3,500 to complete the job, in addition to leak detection fee. Of course, I would be responsible for fixing the hole in the tile floor when he was done. I asked about a re-route. He said they were impossible in a two-story house. 

The third plumber came to my house for free and gave an estimate to re-route the lines for about $400-$800. He said there would be holes in my walls where he accessed the pipes, but the cost of drywall repair would be minimal compared to tunneling or jackhammering. He did the job for $600, and I’m looking for a drywall company this week.

The First Two Plumbers Represent the World

Who knows how many times my pipes expanded and contracted before one finally gave out. It was not until that moment of crisis that I realized I needed a fix. This is like how people aren’t always ready to deal with their spiritual condition until they hit rock bottom. 

But, even when people realize they have a problem, they often assume that it has to be fixed at the source of the break. Both of the first two plumbers wanted to find the leak under the house, access it, and fix the original pipes. Neither one could answer the question about what we would do if another section of the pipe under the house broke again from the same conditions that broke the first one. They just shrugged and said, “That’s Texas for you.” 

The elements of our fallen world just beat on us again and again until we snap; that’s just the nature of our world. The first two plumbers represent us trying to fix our problems while we are still in our flesh. But, we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Our problems are spiritual in nature, and as such need a spiritual solution. Plus, even if we were to go to great lengths to accurately determine the source of an issue in one facet of our lives and get it under control, the same elements would hit us again in another area. 

The Third Plumber Represents Being Born Again

The third plumber, on the other hand, didn’t care where the leak was in the old pipes under the house. If there was one leak in those pipes, there would probably be more. Instead, he capped the existing pipe down into the ground and rerouted it upward. The new pipes are made of a material that wasn’t around when the house was built. They are stronger, and their new location in the walls will protect them from outside elements. The plumber took the pipes above the kitchen, across through the bathroom, and back down to reconnect the pipes near the air conditioning vent in the living room where they needed to go. In the process, he sawed about eight different holes in the walls to get to the different pipes for all areas of the house.

This is like how God came for us. Instead of trying to fix us the way we were, He gave us new life, new equipment. We are now born again with the Spirit of God residing inside us. Like the new pipes, we are more resilient and protected from the elements of this world because we are no longer down in the dirt. God changed our priorities and our paths to something higher.

The Holes in the Drywall

Of course, the process didn’t happen without a little damage. God had to knock through some walls to access the bits of our heart that had been hardened by sin. He had to cap the parts of us that were connected to the world and the devil to deliver us from the enemy’s grasp. And, He had to create new connections so the water of His precious Holy Spirit could run to all the areas of our lives.

My earthly plumber left the holes in my wall that I will have to get fixed week, God willing, When God knocks a hole, though, he never leaves us like that. He remakes us better than we ever were before, each time making us closer and closer to His image in the process.

The High Cost of a Bad Plumber

When searching for a plumber in North Texas, obviously results may vary. The prices run from the reasonable to the ridiculous, and the methods from the destructive to the minimally damaging. Ultimately, though, in the spiritual analogy, the lesson is clear. People can’t expect to fix spiritual problems with worldly solutions. And, even if they do, the price of an eternity apart from God is much too high. Instead, we need Jesus to give us new life and reroute our paths above the harmful elements that cause us damage. We must submit to God and the changes He wants to make in our lives. It is only in this way that we may receive the life-giving flow of His precious Holy Spirit.

If you like analogies, try It’s Not the Machine That Makes Us Clean. It compares aspects of the Christian life to a dishwasher. Or, try Three Reasons We Can’t Stop Trying to Save the Lost. It’s an analogy of the Parable of the Starfish. Please sign up to receive my blog in your email. Also, check out my YouTube Channel where I read the blogs out loud. I also have a playlist of hymns from my church.

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