Should a Christian be at a public swimming pool or water theme park?
The scriptures do not directly answer this particular question and so we must understand some principles that are set down within the scriptures in order to get to an appropriate answer. The Bible says that God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). Water, whether to drink or to bathe in or to play in, is a thing that God has given us to enjoy. So there is nothing wrong with enjoying a swimming pool or water theme park in and of itself. But I believe that the questioner has a little more in mind concerning this question than what is specifically stated and I am quite sure that this has to do with the attire with which both men and women clothe themselves when at such places. The very definition of a public swimming pool or water theme park means that there will be all kinds of individual’s participating in the activities that are offered at these places and there will certainly be some who are not Christians visiting these areas.
In today’s society in general, water and immodesty go hand in hand. Those who seek to recreate themselves around water activities such as swimming, water theme parks, or water skiing often display an inappropriate amount of flesh while they are participating in such things. There are two things that are wrong with this situation. First, the Bible commands that Christians be modest in the way that we dress. Paul wrote to Timothy the following words, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.” The principle that is involved in modest dress is basically that we should not with our apparel draw undue attention to ourselves that would distract from what our real purpose in life is. Whether we overdress in the style of Cindi Lauper, or whether we under dress in the same fashion as the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit models, we will draw undue attention to ourselves and the focus of our life will become worldliness instead of godliness. Those who are Christians should not dress in such a way. If you dress in such a way while going to a public water recreation area then you have failed in keeping yourself modest and that is a sin.
The other problem that one runs into when attending public places of swimming or water recreation is the problem of lust. The Bible tells us that we should abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul (1 Peter 2:11). Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Those who look upon others with a lustful heart sin against God. Whether it is men or women who are doing the looking, when one sees a person of the opposite sex and that person entices lust in one’s heart to the degree that you wish to engage in sexual activity with them, then you have sinned in so looking. Public swimming places, water parks, and other public recreational activities where water is involved will lead you into this temptation. Jesus told us that we should pray not to be lead into temptation (Matthew 6:13). Why would we want to put ourselves into a situation where we would be tempted? No doubt it is within the realm of possibility for a Christian to go to a public swimming place dressed modestly and without any thought of lust in one’s heart for those around them, but it is highly unlikely. So to answer the question, “Should a Christian be at one of these places?” I ask the following questions. Should a Christian dress immodestly? Should a Christian lust after another man or woman? Should a Christian deliberately expose him or herself to lusts which war against the soul? If you have answered “no” to any of these questions, then you have your answer in regard to whether a Christian should go to a public pool or water park where such behavior, as is typical of the world, is occurring. Let us as Christians seek to promote chaste behavior in our life and participate in activities that do not lend themselves to inappropriate activity.