The Quandary of the Fly and the Watermelon

It's watermelon season and I thought you might enjoy a post I wrote almost two years ago in the heat of the summer.

As I sit on my back deck I am a witness to a an interesting scene. I ventured outside to enjoy the pleasant September afternoon with hopes to get some overdue reading done. To celebrate the cool temperatures I bring a coffee cup that is steaming full of delicious goodness of a half orange juice, half carrot juice concoction . It escaped my thoughts that the flies would also enjoy the sweet fruit and vegetable combo and entertain thoughts of invading my pleasant space.

And they did. Within seconds I had an army of at least 20 pesky flying critters with their incessant buzzing and gnarly little hands and bulging eyes swarming around me. Each one was determined that it was going to get a taste of my drink. I knew if they kept it up there was no way I was going to get any reading done. I tried to shoo them away, but it was useless. What a fly wants a fly gets (or it will annoy you until you are insane in the process). After I stopped for a minute thinking they had left the premises, as sure as rain they all returned to their perch.

An idea popped into my head that I thought would remedy the situation. I had some old watermelon in the refrigerator that was ready to be thrown out into the compost pile and if there was one thing I knew flies loved, it was watermelon. I quickly went inside and brought the Tupperware container outside. I set the blue lid some distance from the watermelon and put the watermelon a few feet from me and waited. I breathed a sigh of relief when the flies found the sweet, juicy, red goodness and left me alone.

I went back to reading, but could not help to notice that just as many flies had landed on the blue Tupperware lid as the container that held all of the watermelon. I’m sure here was a little sweetness on the lid, but not as much as the container that was half filled with watermelon, that was just sitting there waiting for them. Why on earth would they sit gnawing at a blue lid when the real deal was sitting a few feet from them with food aplenty?

I couldn’t help but think of Jeremiah 2:13: My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.  The Israelites had started worshipping other gods that they believed were the real deal and picked up pagan practices when God had delivered them from their enemies and shown them the way that leads to life. They were trying to quench their thirst from wells that were not full of living water. These wells would ultimately leave them dry. Jesus talked about this living water in John 14 with the woman at the well. He told her that he was the living water that she was looking for.

In a lot of ways we are just like the Israelites and the flies that were hanging out on the Tupperware lid. We’re always looking for something, anything that will make us feel alive. We go to church, we get that coveted checkmark saying that we are covered for one more week and then live our lives the way that we want to. We try out many new things, trying to find something that we think will fulfill us, getting a small sweet taste in our mouth and think we want more of that, but then we end up dry and thirsty. We wake up one morning and realize that our entire life has been wasted and is in vain and that we are just gnawing on a blue Tupperware lid. (I am speaking from my own experience-I tend to have a Tupperware lid fetish). Then we wonder where we went wrong and how can we get back on the right path? How can we feel full again? The simple answer is to return to the cistern that gives living water. It is the only thing that will quench your thirst and give you life.

It seems kind of silly that the flies on the Tupperware lid would chill out there thinking, at least for a fleeting moment, that they were getting some satisfaction from the plastic goodness, but I would venture to say if you’re like me, we are all guilty of the same folly.

As a side note I couldn’t help to notice that there are two types of flies on the container that is full of watermelon: the several that are hanging out on the edge and not really partaking of the fruit and the few that are actually hanging out in the middle of watermelon heaven. It makes me think that the container is the hollow shell that we call religion. The bystanders observe from a distance, not fully ready to commit and are ultimately just as guilty as the ones hanging out on the Tupperware lid. The ones that are actually in the middle of the fruit are really tasting and seeing that the fruit is good.

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