What’s happening: Christian has entered the Wicket Gate and received his certificate. He stopped for the night at the Interpreter’s House. Informed that he had to work for his room and board, he starts sweeping in an especially dirty room…
As Christian swept, a great cloud of dust arose, so much in fact that he could not see what he was sweeping. Coughing, he kept at his task until he could no longer sweep. Looking around the room, (after the dust settled) he saw that there was no change in the amount of dust there. Discouraged, he called for the Interpreter, “Dear Interpreter, I have a problem!”
“What is that?” questioned the Interpreter as he came in from another room.
“The dust will not go away! No matter how hard or soft I sweep, it only moves from my broom to settle in another portion of the room!” cried Christian in anguish.
“I will help you if you want me to do so,” responded the Interpreter.
So the Interpreter called for a maid named Gospel, to sprinkle water on the dust. Gospel came as soon as she was called and set to work sprinkling. Once she was done, the Interpreter called for Christian to continue sweeping. Now as Christian swept, the dust went quietly into the pan.
Once the room was clean, Christian asked the Interpreter the meaning of this room. The Interpreter responded and said, “This room represents a man heart before he knew Christ. It is full of Sin and the Pleasures of the world. Then his eyes were opened to the filth of his condition and he started to try to change himself. But all he did stir up the sins and he could not get them to go away. The good news is the Gospel, represented by the water. Just as you could not clean this room by yourself, so can no one clean themselves without Christ to take charge of our sins. The Law is what opened his eyes to his filthy condition. It did nothing to help him cure himself, it only acted as a mirror to open his eyes to his filthy condition.”
The Interpreter then took him into a room where there was a fireplace. As Christian warmed his hands, a man rudely knocked him aside saying, “Outta my way you! I am putting this fire OUT!”
The man then proceeded to throw great buckets of water on the flames in hopes of it going out. However, as soon as the water hit the flames, it was vaporized. No matter how much water was thrown on the fire, it still burned as hot as ever. As the man (cursing and grumbling to himself) walked off to fetch more water, the Interpreter took Christian around a small wall where they could see the back of the fire place. There stood a man, clad in the garments of heaven, feeding the fire with oil from a long, golden tube. “I see that there is a lesson in this too.” remarked Christian.
“That there is,” replied the Interpreter, “The man trying to put the fire out is Apollyon, the same one who shot arrows at you when you where at the Wicket Gate. The fire is the believers and followers of Christ. Though Apollyon throws the water of trails and temptations at them, they cannot be put out as long as they remain in direct contact with The King of the Celestial City. The King strengthens them with the Oil of the Holy Spirit. “