Chapter 2 – A High-Level Overview
A new homeowner found an old garden hose in the back yard under the bushes. As he reached to pull the garden hose out, the idea crossed his mind that it would be nice to use the hose to water the garden, since he was a new homeowner and had not purchased a hose yet. As he pulled the hose out, he realized it was pretty beat up and in need of repair – most noticeable were the gashes that would surely leak. He realized he could just buy a new hose, but for some reason he took a liking to this particular hose and decided to repair it instead. He proceeded to replace the washer so that it could seal well to the outdoor faucet, and he also repaired the gashes so that they would not leak. He then hooked it up to the faucet, turned the valve counterclockwise, and began to spray water onto the garden. Over time a wonderful crop of fruits and vegetables came forth from the garden – fresh tomatoes, green beans, strawberries, and all kinds of good things to eat.
Contained within this metaphor are many insights about deeper friendships with Jesus and each other. We will explore the details of these insights in the chapters that follow this one, but for now let us take a high-level overview of this metaphor’s basic components.
The garden hose represents a person, whether you, or me, or someone else.
The water that flows through the hose is God – in the reservoir as God the Father, and through the hose as God the Holy Spirit.
The homeowner, who does the gardening, is also God but in the person of Jesus.
The hose getting repaired and hooked up to the house represents a person coming into a relationship with God.
The fruits and vegetables in the garden represent the good results that grow in the person’s relationships with Jesus and others.
Most metaphors break down at a certain point since they do not perfectly describe reality. So is the case for this garden hose metaphor. For one thing, we are much more than a hose in that we have a brain, heart, soul, spirit, and unique personalities. Secondly, growth toward deeper friendships is much more complex and challenging than the restoration steps needed for the garden hose. Also, the garden hose does not have the free will that we do. We can choose whether or not we will allow the Gardener to repair us, hook us up to the faucet, and enable us to become useful over time in producing a garden harvest of deep friendships. Lastly, we have the thinking ability to evaluate the restoration process itself, but depending on how we perceive it, we may think it is better to move toward or keep away from such a restoration. So, if we do not understand why Jesus would want us to grow toward deeper friendships (which we will explore in the next chapter), and conclude it is better to just do our “own thing”, then we can use our free will to choose the tragic results found in a dream that a friend of mine had.
Matt Scott's Dream
I was walking through the woods and came to a clearing at the edge of a very large and beautiful lake with glistening dark water. I was excited because I love to fish and was hoping the lake would prove to be excellent for fishing.
Jesus met me at the edge of the lake and took my hand. He then guided me to the water’s edge. I started to wonder if we were going to walk on the water, since I knew Jesus had done so before. But instead, we began to walk into the water that initially was only up to our ankles. We walked further into the lake, but the water did not get deeper like I thought it would, instead it remained only ankle deep. We walked and walked and walked, but as far as we went, the water still remained only ankle deep. I was surprised that the lake was not any deeper and concluded the fishing would not be good since it was so shallow.
Jesus then began to weep. I was surprised by His sadness. Jesus then turned to me and said that the lake represents His body, the church. He loves His church, but is deeply saddened by the lack of depth.
When Matt shared his dream with me, it dawned on me that the lake looks beautiful on the surface because of Jesus’ perfect love for those who have entered into relationship with Him. But, the tragedy is the shallowness of the water that represents a lack of relational depth. Jesus’ heart longs for people to be freed up toward these deeper waters of friendship, and He is saddened for them that they are not getting any deeper than the shallow waters. So, if we do not get repaired, hooked up well to the faucet, and over time increase in the amount of water flowing through us, then we will never be able to participate in these deeper waters of friendship with Jesus – nor with anyone else. We may even be surrounded by many people, and yet feel like an isolated island – never truly connecting with others at deeper levels. We may long for better relationships, but find that whatever we try, we wind up just never getting there.
In this chapter we looked at an overview of the garden hose metaphor. We will look at the details of this metaphor in the following chapters in order to help us grow past the shallow ankle deep relational waters described in Matt Scott’s dream, and instead on toward the deeper waters of friendship with Jesus and each other.