Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)
TITLE: For Those Who Listen
By Stephanie Bullard
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In ancient times the people of my land believed I was protected by the god Sobek, a deity in the form of a crocodile. I have seen many crocodiles, but they are simply that…crocodiles. There is no Sobek, just as there are none of the other gods and goddesses in the wide pantheon that the ancients believed controlled their lives. I know as only a wise old river can. I know because I was the personal recipient of a powerful touch by the One, Only True God.
I was not a young river then, but much younger than I am now. It was so many years ago that it would boggle the human mind to consider it, but I can recall it as though it were mere seconds ago. But then who could forgot such a terrifying encounter. To be touched and changed by the Living God is not an experience one soon forgets.
It was a day, much like any other it would seem. My waters flowed between the reeded banks, fish splashed against the surface spraying crystalline drops, somewhere down the way several hippopotami locked enormous jaws together in a friendly banter. Crocodiles lounged on the sandy shores, eyes half closed, mouths half opened, frozen in a sun-drenched stupor of laziness. The Pharaoh’s boat glided along the smooth top.
But there was a restlessness. Shouting, curses, threats and demands. The argument seemed to be between two in particular – the Pharaoh himself, and the man, Moses, who once walked my banks as royalty. Then the words stopped. I felt the man, Moses, slide his feet down my banks and into the cool waters. An intense vibration shot out from his feet, coursing throughout the miles of water that flowed within me. The man, Moses, plunged his staff through the surface of the water and deep within the mud along the bottom. A shock shot through me and for a moment time itself seemed to cease and with it the movement of my water. But the moment did not last; I could feel my waters moving, but in a way quite different than I had ever known. They were thick, and hot, slimy and sluggish, red and carrying with them the horrendous stench of death. My cool, life-giving waters had been transformed into death-heralding blood.
For days the thick blood churned through my bed…I do not claim it as mine. My waters were gone, for how long I knew not. The animals that depended on me for life ceased to thrive. Dead fish and frogs floated on the top, and clogged the shores. Bodies of crocodiles and hippos littered the banks. The people who lived by my waters grew sick, some of them died as well. And there was nothing they, or I, could do. And there was nothing Sobek could do. But there was One who could change it, and when I had all but given up, He did. I cannot recall what the man, Moses, did or said. All I can remember is the touch of the Creator and Giver of all life. I felt His hand, and I felt His voice.
“Be healed,” He whispered. “Be cleaned.” A shaft of light sliced through the thick, red goo and a wave of coolness like I had never known swept through my expanse. It rippled through the blood, and I felt the power cleansing every molecule, returning me to my former state. Or rather, beyond my former state. I had never felt my waters so clear and alive.
I had been created by the One and Only, but I had never felt truly alive before He cleansed and purified me. I will never forget that day or that touch, and for those who listen, I will spend the remainder of my days with my waters whispering the story of that time.
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