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The Parable of Fish Prison

Imagine standing on the bow of a large ship in the vast ocean. Looking out on miles and miles of beautiful open sea. Out there, bobbing around in the water, as far as you can see, are fish tanks—aquariums. Some square. Some round. Some large. Some small.

In the aquariums, are fish. Some alone. Some with other fish.

Are these fish really in the ocean? No. They’re looking through glass at the ocean.

They may want some of the fish who swim by to come get in the aquarium with them or they may want to get out. Those other fish look in and see what? Water which is a little murky. Some fake plastic plants. A motorized life support system which keeps oxygen in the water.

The fish behind the glass need to be fed by someone else. Those fish outside the glass may wonder just what is going on in there. Why would they really want to be a part of it? The fish inside look imprisoned.

  • Have we forgotten what it means to be free in Christ? Or have we never known?
  • Have we forgotten what real open water is like? Or have we never known?
  • Have we become keepers of our aquarium?

We need to be helping fish find open water. Fish can’t live free in an aquarium. We, as fish whom Jesus has loved, are to be ‘open seas fish’, as we go, loving other fish. As I said in the introduction, we are captives He wants to set free. Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:18. But we are no longer captives if we are His. He has set us free.

Yet we have accidently, and also purposely, built for ourselves, aquariums…personal and religious aquariums.

But, we can ask Him to help us get out!

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