I stood at the edge of the river; wide, deep and majestic. It's shores winding and jutting; flowing the ancient way destined for it. The banks, sometimes steep and stark, other times long, flat, and rocky. From my vantage point, I can see places white with rapids and places calm with steady determination to flow. It's relentless power fascinates me. It never stops. It is living and it has places to go. What is it about a river that draws me to its meandering shores?
All throughout the Bible rivers are used to define territory, challenges, growth and even the effects of sin.The Jordon was where Jesus was baptized and where the Israelites faced an obstacle and saw God overcome it. The Euphrates, the Tigris and the Nile defined the borders of Eden and in the final days the Euphrates will be dried up to make way for the Kings of the East.
Rivers were places were God sometimes prescribed a dunking for healing and rivers were sometimes filled with blood...an outpouring of God's judgment on sin and rebellion. Yet, it often symbolized the repentant hearts of believers.
Why do I feel so drawn to rivers? I think I look at them and see life. Rivers are unpredictable, yet sure. When they are healthy their waters aren't stagnant. When they are alive their flow is unceasing. The flow of nature, of commerce, of recreation, of beauty run with its mighty waters.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
In the Montana town I was visiting the river does truly run through it and the life of the town flows around it. It is defined by it. It's business, homes, and parks hold hands with the river like young people in love and still-in-love old married couples. It holds the stories of the past and the promise of the future.
I'm drawn to rivers like I am drawn to intimacy with Jesus. Sometimes though, I stand at the rivers edge and wonder at it, describe it, ache for it...but refrain from jumping in. I want to be the kind of child that runs whooping and leaping into the waters of His mercy and bathe for hours in His river of life; emerging clean, cool and refreshed.
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Lord, thank you for making rivers and thank you for planting us by your River of Life.