I enjoy any body of water. The ocean is majestic and restless, and I stand in awe of it every time I am at the coast. Lakes, on the other hand, are so peaceful. But I am most intrigued with rivers. A river is always on the move, coming from somewhere and going somewhere else.
Cities that have rivers running through them have an added dimension to them. There is additional life not only in but along the river. San Antonio, London, Paris, Detroit, all capitalize on the ambiance of their rivers. In my town, the Sacramento River runs right through the middle of it, and people from all walks of life enjoy it: fishermen, rafters, kayakers, bikers, and walkers alike take advantage of the water or the trails next to it. One of Santiago Calatrava’s world renowned bridges––the Sundial Bridge––now spans the river, and a nearby exploration park showcases natural wildlife.
It is no wonder then that water is used metaphorically in the Bible as spiritually life giving as well (John 4:10). In addition, rivers play an important part in the Bible and further demonstrate its unity. For instance, a river flowed out of the Garden of Eden, God’s perfect home for man (Genesis 2:10). Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River, which not only served as the first manifestation of a triune God, but also fulfilled prophecy and pointed the way for sinful man’s repentance (Matt 3:15-17). And then in the final chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22:1, John describes a river in heaven: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
Both old hymns and new worship and contemporary Christian songs sing of the life giving force of water and rivers. Links to two of my favorites are below.
Whether we take a drink of water, gaze in wonder at the ocean, or settle down to watch the flowing of a river, let’s remember, and be thankful, that water (both physical and spiritual) is a pure gift from God.
Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water” music video
Rhett Walker Band “Come to the River” audio with lyrics