I’d read this passage last night in The Emotionally Healthy Church:
One of the struggles in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, Voyage of the Dawn Treader, pictures what it feels like to follow God in taking a deep, hard look inside. Eustace, a young boy, becomes a big, ugly dragon as a consequence of being selfish, stubborn, and unbelieving. Now he wants to change and go back to being a little boy, but he can’t do it himself. Eventually the great lion Aslan (representing Jesus) appears to him and leads him to a beautiful well to bathe. But since he is a dragon, he can’t enter the well. Aslan tells him to undress. Eustace remembers that he can cast off his skin like a snake. He takes off a layer by himself, dropping it to the ground, feeling better. Then as he moves to the pool, he realizes there is yet another hard, rough, scaly layer still on him. Frustrated, in pain, and longing to get into that beautiful bath, he asks himself, “How many skins do I have to take off?” After three layers, he gives up, realizing that he cannot do it. Aslan then says, “You will have to let me undress you.” To which Eustace replies:
I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back and let him do it. The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt…Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly looking than the others had been. And there was I as smooth and soft…Then he caught hold of me…and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again…After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me…with his paws…in these new clothes I’m wearing.