When the prophet Jeremiah tried to get the people of Israel to reckon with their shallowness, they refused. When he told them of their arrogance, they put cotton in their ears. When he warned them of a terrible fate from an invading nation if they didn’t jump on a smooth path of righteousness, they ignored him.
“Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is,” Jeremiah declared. “And walk on that path and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk on it’”(Jer 6:16).
I’m pretty sure I know why they wouldn’t walk on that smooth path of righteousness: They didn’t want to give up the complacent lives they enjoyed. They preferred the bumps that go with self-centeredness, the rough edges that excuse immorality. They loved the potholes that shaped their existence.
For readers of this blog who live at a distance from Iowa, you need to know that the City of Davenport is currently in the running for the largest potholes in the western hemisphere. Some freakish acts of nature in the last ten days have converged to suddenly undo our roads. None of us can quite believe the resulting chaos from swerving cars and crushed tire rims. If you’re driving a Fiat 500 or a Mini Cooper in this community, my quick advice is to sell it. Or, strap a ladder on top so that you can get out of a pothole once you drive into it.
The potholes are simply not apologizing. In fact, they remain unapologetically deep. They ought to be seeing a therapist who would be willing to listen in on their deep issues. But like those intransigent Israelites of old, they just elect to sink or swim on their own.
Maybe you know that old joke: What did the pothole say to the guys driving the pothole repair truck? “Don’t even try!” Well, the guys in this town on those trucks are trying. And, I’m grateful they are. They’re trying to provide rest for our souls and salvation for our wheel alignments. But as they shovel that hot mix asphalt into standing holes of snow and water, the potholes just keep daring them: “Watch us get deeper and deeper.”