Reflection: A river runs through

Mar 10, 2015 by

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

If any of you is thirsty, come to Me and drink. If you believe in Me, the Hebrew Scriptures say that rivers of living water will flow from within you. Jesus was referring to the realities of life in the Spirit made available to everyone who believes in Him. — John 7:38-39, The Voice

A-River-runs.001-1024x768The Spirit of God is like a river flowing through our lives yet we rarely think about what that river could look like.

What is your response?

Sit quietly for a moment imagining the Spirit of God flowing through your life. What imagery comes to mind? Do you think of a mountain stream, fast running but small, or of a broad, majestic river meandering across the plain?

Imagine yourself pausing to drink from that stream. The waters refresh and renew, they pour life into your body. How does that make you feel?

Rivers begin in the mountains, tiny rushing streams that cascade down mountainsides, and shoot rapidly through gorges in a hurry to get to the sea. Then they meet another stream, and then another. Their waters mingle, slow down, coalescing into a river that meanders across the plain where cities spring up to draw from its life giving waters. Now the movement is less urgent and less defined.

A-River-runs-through-Then it bursts its bank, makes new channels, some loops are cut off forming small peaceful lakes or billabongs, tranquil places for wildlife to rest and recuperate. The flood waters spread out across the delta, depositing its heavy load of silt across the farmland with rich nourishing life for the crops that are grown and for the birds and animals that enjoy its abundance.

What is your response?

Imagine the seasons of God’s movement in your life.

Are there times that you have felt the Spirit of God, rushing through you like a mountain torrent? Write those down and reflect on their impact in your life.

Are there times when you have seen your stream mingle in community with others to create a wide river beside which still others can gather to draw life giving water? Write these down and reflect on their impact.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAre there times when the waters of God have overflowed your river spreading nourishment across the food that we eat and the wildlife that surrounds us? Write these down and reflect on their impact.

We humans love to confine the path of a river. We straighten out its curves, pave its banks and build levies to confine the flood waters. We pollute it with industrial waste so that we can no longer drink straight from its banks. The life-giving silt flows out into the sea, its nutrients lost forever. When floods come they burst through the levies with devastating results, destroying homes, farms and livelihoods.

What is your response?

Where have you tried to confine the Spirit’s flow in your life and that of your community? What has been the impact? What is one thing you could do to change that?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere have you wanted to drink from the waters of God’s stream but found them to be polluted? Where does that pollution come from? Is there one thing you could do to change that?

Listen to the Alison Krauss song below, “Down in the River to Pray.” As you listen, take note of each of the river photos and imagine the twists and turns of the river from its source to the sea. What part of the river are you in now?

There is one photo above that is obviously a man made canal rather than a river — take note of how different it is from the God created rivers. Sit in silence at the end of the song and allow God to speak to you. Is there any further response you feel you should make?

Christine Sine is executive director of Mustard Seed Associates, a small organization founded by her and her husband, Tom Sine, to assist churches and Christian organizations to engage the challenges of the 21st century. She writes at God Space, where this post originally appeared.


Comments Policy

Mennonite World Review invites readers’ comments on articles. To promote constructive dialogue, editors select the comments that appear, just as we do with letters to the editor in print. These decisions are final. Writers must sign their first and last names; anonymous comments are not accepted. Comments do not appear until approved and are posted during business hours. Comments may be reproduced in print, and may be edited if selected for print.