“Awww… Why do I have to take a bath?” Nancy complained as her dad called her into the house. “Yeah,” agreed her little brother, Billy. “We already washed!”
Their dad tried his best to suppress his grin, but didn’t quite succeed. Mother, on the other hand, was not amused in the least. She gently swatted at Nancy’s bottom as she came in the house. “Take a bath, now, young lady.” Turning to Billy with folded arms, she said, “and you, too, young man.” The children avoided Mom’s eyes and marched into the bathroom.
Billy, four, just could not understand why he needed a bath, for – after all – they had been playing in the rain. The rain is clean, isn’t it? When he climbed up on a step and looked in the mirror, he saw was a clean face and a bright smile. He licked his finger and smoothed his curly black hair. “But, Mom!” he called. “I don’t need a bath!”
“You did it now,” said Nancy, who had already crawled into the waiting bubble bath, and was dutifully scrubbing away mud and grime.
“Get in the tub,” Mom said, grabbing Billy by the ear with just a little less force than a bulldozer. She led him to the tub and made him crawl in. “WASH,” she commanded. She stormed out of the room.
“Now look, you made her angry at us,” said Nancy.
“It’s your fault. If you hadn’t already started taking a bath…”
“It’s not my fault,” insisted Nancy.
Dad came in and sat down by the tub. Wash cloth in hand, he checked behind their ears, and rewashed their necks. “Now,” he said. “Good as new. Now, get dressed for bed.”
Billy climbed up to the mirror again. “I don’t look any different than before.”
“You still look like a wild pig,” said Nancy, laughing at her little brother.
“You don’t think the bath did any good?” Dad asked Billy.
“Nope,” replied the boy. “I had already washed outside in the puddles.”
Dad nodded at the slow-draining tub. “Then where did all this dirt come from?”
Billy and Nancy peered into the tub of dirty water. Their jaws dropped.
“It’s all from her, Dad. I was already clean,” said Billy.
Sometimes, even when we think we are clean, our Father knows better.
Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Psalm 51:5-7 NIV