What's Under There? La Vie en Rose, Part 12


While in Paris this summer, we visited a very unusual tourist attraction. It was not something that many of us would find irresistible or breath-taking, but strangely enough, it is one that we will never forget having visited: The Paris Sewer Museum.

Prior to this tour, I had no idea how much work was put into moving human waste material out of our sight and out of our range of smell. And I was even more astonished to learn that the systematic removal of this detestable debris began in Paris long before the industrial revolution began!

Back in the 12th century, King Philippe August grew tired of the smelly meadows around him, and ordered the construction of drains and paved street in Paris. These were first constructed between the years of 1180 to 1223!

Napoleon Bonaparte went one step further. In 1850 he ordered the construction of covered sewers that ran under the city. These same modernized sewers today reach a total length of more than 2,100 km (1,312 miles)! It would take much more than the ordinary two week vacation to finish your visit! But then again, you would likely succumb to the smell before a day was over!

The Parisian sewers evacuate about 1,200,000 cubic meters of water per day (Don't worry. The tap water comes from somewhere else!), and each year more than 15,000 cubic meters of solid waste debris are removed. Not my kind of a job, if you know what I mean!

If nothing had ever been done to remove this smelly detritus however, Paris would literally be a stinking hole that no one would want to visit, and even less, inhabit! It would be doomed to abandonment!

Fortunately, something was done, and as a result, this famous city is thriving.

The spiritual application of this is quite clear. Our actions more often than not turn us into putrid, smelly waste material that distances us from the One who created us. And even worse, although we are all affected by it, ("There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Rom 3:22-23 NIV), we do not tolerate the sins of others! Unless, of course, it is for our personal gain!

Something had to be done, otherwise we would be left to our own demise! The King of Kings is the One who reached out to us in our sewer, and in due time, His Son, Christ Jesus, died in our place, so that we could be cleaned up and be brought back into a respectable condition. He is the One who justifies us! He is the One who makes us acceptable! He is the One who loves us!

"…and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." (Rom 3:24 NIV)

"Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!" (Rom 5:9-10 NIV)

"Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies." (Rom 8:33 NIV)

Moreover we do not need to try justifying ourselves to anyone. We were putrid, but Jesus cleaned us up! Jesus is the only One who justifies us! Thank you Jesus!

Ready for a swim?

May I encourage you to swim in the lake of grace of the Lover of our soul! The clean waters are much nicer than the sewer!

Rob Chaffart

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