Bitter water cannot sustain life.
Many New Testament writers warned that problems would come into the Christian
church—see examples in 2 Peter 2:1, 2, Acts 20:26-31 and 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4.
When we looked at the message to the church at Pergamum, we saw how compromise can affect the church. A prominent historical example of this was when elements of sun worship entered Christianity about the time of the conversion of the first Christian Emperor,Constantine.
Medieval authors, such as Bernard of Clairveaux and Francis of Assisi, recognised something had gone terribly wrong with the church. The problems are well understood and acknowledged today.
A few years ago, John Paul II apologised for what had happened.
For more than 1,000 years, the gospel was lost to most of Christendom.
It was a time of ignorance when people were not able to hear the good news about
Jesus Christ. People thought they could earn merit with God by fasting, pilgrimages and giving money to the church. A lot of duties were added to the Christian faith that had no support from the Bible. Tradition began to overrule the Bible. That’s why this time in history—the medieval period—is sometimes called the Dark Ages.
The sweet waters had become bitter. Under this system, no-one could be sure of their salvation in Jesus. There is no joy or certainty in this type of religion. Spiritual death results.
Human nature has a bent toward trying to earn merit before God by our own goodness.
When we lose the concept of salvation as a free gift because of what Jesus has done for us, all religion becomes bitter waters.