Hot Water

District Fellowship News

September, October 2010


I am sure you have heard about the experiment where a frog is placed in some water, and then the heat is slowly turned up. As the water gets hotter, the frog fails to realize that his body will not be able to adjust to the rising temperature and eventually dies. Although some experiments in the late 1800's purported to have actually verified that result, many today would say that there is very little truth to the story. And yet it certainly does seem at least plausible, that by the time the reptile realizes its predicament it may already be too late to do something about it.  The gradualness of the heat increase for the frog is what dooms him. One moment it is still okay and then at some point it becomes deadly. The frog would never jump into hot water and if the water temperature rises quickly the frog jumps out.

Something like this principle is used in a new pest control method for bedbugs. In the US there has been an incredible resurgence in bedbug infestation in the last 10 years. Many places that have never seen bedbugs are now being overrun as the world becomes a smaller place that allows for the unintended transportation and movement of many pests. Worse yet is that bedbugs have become resistant to many conventional pesticides on the market today. However an effective treatment has been developed that relies on the bedbugs penchant for warmth. Pest control companies now seal rooms that have an infestation and bring the temperature in that room to well over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. All forms of bedbugs from larva to adults cannot survive at that temperature and die. The interesting part of this treatment is that as the temperature begins to increase the bugs move toward the heat source and as it gets hotter they do not flee, they stay and die. You would think that at some point there would be a realization that this heat is no longer good for them, but like with the frog by the time they may be aware it is too late to escape. 

This reminds me of Samson, that powerful pest to the Philistines. He would go into their cities, attend their functions, constantly living on the edge of safety. Of course he saw no harm in dallying with the Philistine women, his strength and smarts would keep him safe. Finally the Philistines came up with a plan to kill him. It involved entangling him in a relationship with a woman and then playing on his disdain for their ability to conquer him. He would never see the danger coming. His mistress, in a break in one of their dalliances, began asking him for the source of his strength. Although at first he put her off, she would ask again. Finally he began to answer and each time he did his words came closer and closer to the truth. Like the bedbug, he enjoyed the heat. The thrill of being in the midst of his enemies, the draw of Delilah's charms, he seemed totally unconcerned about the danger that was presenting itself. Even as he found himself tied up with vines or his hair woven into seven locks he couldn't bring himself to believe that there was any real danger. Each time as the situation escalated, he stayed. If armed men had run into the room, if an army had been deployed he would have been on guard, but he didn't realize the danger until it was too late and the price for his arrogance had to be paid.

Are there parallels between you, frogs, bedbugs and Samson? It seems that instead of being in the world but not of the world many of today's "Christians" have a Samson attitude. The temptations of the world intrigue us, beckon us, draw us like that heat the exterminator uses. We know there is danger, we know there is death, but we stick around anyhow. Potentially the worst thing we do is rationalize, like Samson, that God has given us great strength to overcome so we will not fall, but we have forgotten that by participating in these behaviors and follies we have walked away from the source of strength, left the safety of HIs protection and jumped into the furnace. And the worst part about this - as we are suffering we can't understand how it went this far. It wasn't this hot when we first stepped into the pot!

Continued in "Slippery slope"