I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send?”. . . And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa. 6:8)

IN AUGUST 2015, a federal cleanup crew in Colorado spilled wastewater from their work at an abandoned mine into the Animas River. The river turned bright orange and made the water many relied upon unusable. Various agencies scrambled to determine the risks the contaminated water posed and when to notify nearby residents when the water was safe again. But for a time, the impure water was useless to those who needed it.

In Isaiah 6, the prophet entered the Lord’s presence and was instantly struck by his own sinfulness and impurity. God’s holiness made Isaiah’s condition glow as bright as an orange river. Yet God sent an angel who touched a burning coal to Isaiah’s lips and made him pure. Both God and Isaiah responded to this new purity: Isaiah instantly felt prepared and worthy to take God’s message to His people, and God was willing for him to do so.

God wants to use us for His glory, but sometimes, like toxins in river water, our sin renders us unusable. We must come before the holiness of the Lord, which, like a water purity test, can help us see exactly what poisons we carry. When we do, God will cleanse us like He purified Isaiah. Then we will be ready, even eager, to be used by God to offer pure water to thirsty souls.

Write Isaiah 6:8 on a water bottle and use it this week.

Diane Gardner lives in the San Francisco Bay area, where she enjoys theater, community events, and watching the sun set over the bay.