Season 10, Episode 7, Open Your Eyes

By Thom McKee

The water has been poisoned and no one has figured it out yet… until tonight.  Earlier in the season we saw Alpha orchestrating the pollution of the river with the blood of dead walkers.  But until now, we didn’t know how it was poisoning people until Siddiq solved the mystery.  Someone switched the valve, allowing the polluted river water into the potable water supply. But the big question is, did Siddiq leave any indication that this was happening before he was choked out by Dante? (Is he dead? Unfortunately it looks like this is the case.)

While Siddiq was dealing with some serious PTSD after watching the deaths of his loved ones, including Enid and Tara, he also has been trying to figure out this mysterious illness that has been affecting seemingly random people. But it wasn’t until he was sitting by the river with Rosita that he figured it out.

Siddiq: Look, I’m just I’m not smart enough.

Rosita: Bulls**t. Bulls**t. You have to pull through. You have to fight it. For Coco…Me…And everyone else that loves you. And you can…You will…Because you’re not alone. And you’re the smartest person I know. Except me, of course. [LAUGHS.]

Siddiq: I still can’t figure out why you’re sick. The patients, you don’t live together, you don’t work together, you don’t even eat the same things. There’s not a common denominator. At least not one that I can (he notices the water running over the water wheel)

Rosita: What? 

Siddiq: Nothing.

Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell Rosita right then. This is unfortunate because, the knowledge may have died with him when Dante choked him out (we don’t know that he is dead, but Dante has every reason to make sure Siddiq never talks).

Dante also poisoned the jailed Whisperer with Hemlock conveniently before he would be able to reveal the location of the herd. Dante was most likely a Whisperer in disguise and right under everyone’s nose, he was slowly killing people.

We won’t know what happens until the mid-season finale next week, but for now people are continuing to be poisoned by the Whisperers.

As I was watching this week, I kept thinking about the metaphor of being poisoned without knowing it.  This is a Metaphor we see throughout the scriptures in both the Old and the New Testament. Whether the scriptures are comparing the teachings of Israel’s enemies to poison (Deut 29:18, 32:33, Psalm 58:4, Amos 6:12, Psalm 140:1-3), or whether they are using the metaphor to describe the destructive tendencies of our tongues (James 3:8), the bible uses this metaphor often.

As I looked up how much this metaphor is used in the scriptures, I found dozens of examples in all parts of the Bible. So I asked myself why this was the case and I found that the metaphor is particularly robust when it comes to the issue of false teaching.  

False teaching is like poison in the sense that it doesn’t work right away.  Sometimes you can be poisoned for a long period of time before you even notice how it is affecting you.  On the Walking Dead, people are dying without even knowing that they have been poisoned.  And depending on the dosage of poison, it can take very little, are a long time to kill people.

Luke, the author of the book of Acts is aware of this when he uses the metaphor in the fourteenth chapter of his book.

1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. Acts 14:1-2 (NIV)

In this section of Acts, Paul is well into a missionary journey where he is telling Gentiles about Jesus. At the time many Jewish Christians (don’t forget the Paul was Jewish) didn’t like the idea of preaching to Gentiles. So for unbelieving Jews (non-Christian jews) it was easy to stir trouble among Christians.  We don’t know exactly how they were “poisoning their minds against the brothers” but it probably had something to do with the racial tension that was alive and well in the church.

But the metaphor is extremelly effective when you think about it. It is much easier to cause seeds of doubt than it is to immediately destroy the faiths of those who had recently committed their lives to Christ. And that is how poison works – slowly and without revealing itself in an obvious way.

Thousands of years after Luke wrote this,we can see it as equally true today.  Often the attacks on our faith are subtle and sometimes almost unseen. While overt attacks sometimes just strengthen our resolve, the more hidden ones can cause devastation to our faith.  That is why Paul also uses the metaphor himself to warn us of these types of attacks (Romans 3:13).

So what are the poisons that are creeping into our lives today?  Anything that causes us to not love God and anything that causes us to not love our neighbors. Those are the two greatest commandments after all (Matt 22:36-40)!  Any time that we hear hate working through our congregations of believers, we need to be careful. This subtle attack can disguise itself as righteous anger, but really all it does is push people away from the gospel. 

Often I find myself spending more time focusing on the more direct attacks on our faith – those that try to portray us us idiots or hate mongers (unfortunately, these attacks are more effective when a few of us are guilty of these things). But for the most part, these types of attacks are baseless merely attempting to make Christians look like uncaring buffoons. But my experience with the vast majority of Christians is one of compassion, mercy and forgiveness.  

What this very effective biblical metaphor reminds me of is the fact that it is often the more hidden attacks that disable us. And that is why we need to be aware of these things, prayerful about these things and we need to search the scriptures as to whether the ideas that we are listening to, align with the word of God.

SEASON 10, EPISODE 7 DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

1) Did you notice in earlier episodes that people were being poisoned?  Why or why not?

2) Did it occur to you tonight that Dante had purposefully poisoned the captured whisperer? Why or why not?

3) Why do you think that Siddiq gets to angry when he figures out that the water is poisoned?

4) Is it possible that Siddiq figures it out, and then realizes that it was pretty obvious? Why or why not?

5) Why do you think that poison is such a common biblical metaphor?

6) Can you think of ways that your faith (if you are a believer) is being poisoned?

7) What can you do in order to bring perspective to your faith when you experience these types of attack?

8) What role do the scriptures have for you when you think about these things?

9) How can you make sure that you detect and deal with the poisonous teachings that you come across?

Thom McKee Jr. is a husband, father, pastor… and film geek (and brother of Jonathan McKee). Thom lives in Northern California with his wife and two kids.

About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen's Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, TheSource4YM.com and TheSource4Parents.com. You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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