“I thought how lovely and how strange a river is. A river is a river, always there, and yet the water flowing through it is never the same water and is never still. It’s always changing and is always on the move. And over time the river itself changes too. It widens and deepens as it rubs and scours, gnaws and kneads, eats and bores its way through the land…– Aidan Chambers
This excerpt has some imagery in it that sends my mind racing. I think about my life and how this river can emulate my life. That I am constantly changing. I am not the same man I was yesterday, nor am I the same man I will be tomorrow. Through friction and persistence my understanding widens and becomes deeper.
I think of most rivers in this world. They have a beginning and an end, most of which are the oceans, their source. I have a source as well. I pray that the path I am carving out is one that leads me back to the source. That people will be able to trace the path of my life and use it to navigate to that source as well.
If I am honest, that is what I want my life to be like but it is not, I am flawed, I fail … repeatedly. Just as a river dries up and stops flowing in the different seasons, my life does the same. When the heat becomes unbearable, I can start to trickle or even dry up completely. I let the pressure of my life get to me. Those situations or circumstances that are meant to stretch me and deepen me, so I have enough left after the heat to keep going, leave me dry and cracked.
I know I am not the only way that thinks this way either. In Job chapter 6, Job is responding to Eliphaz and his friends counsel with this metaphor as well.
My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring when it is swollen with ice and melting snow. But when the hot weather arrives,the water disappears.The brook vanishes in the heat. The caravans turn aside to be refreshed,but there is nothing to drink, so they die.The caravans from Tema search for this water; the travelers from Sheba hope to find it. They count on it but are disappointed. When they arrive, their hopes are dashed.
– Job 6:15-20
I love this small excerpt, because he expands on it as well. Job is implying that as a river or stream, we are not meant to just exist and run through this life just getting to the end. We exist to pour into others, to let them drink from us. To be growing and deepening so that those around us can be filled. This is easier said than done though. It is hard, in our own power, to keep ourselves flowing, growing, widening and deepening. A river doesn’t replenish itself when it drys up, it is replenished by the rain and the snow and other various ways.
In the same way, we can be replenished when we are dry. We can look up and let the rain from our amazing Savior fill us up again, to the point we are overflowing and hard to contain. So that we can be prepared for those moments of intense heat in our lives, so that we have an abundance to impact those around us.
…Do I change like a river, widening and deepening, eddying back on myself sometimes, bursting my banks sometimes when there’s too much water, too much life in me, and sometimes dried up from lack of rain? Will the I that is me grow and widen and deepen? Or will I stagnate and become an arid riverbed? Will I allow people to dam me up and confine me to a wall so that I flow only where they want? Will I allow them to turn me into a canal to use for they own purposes? Or will I make sure I flow freely, coursing my way through the land and plowing a valley of my own?”– Aidan Chambers
I encourage you to keep going. No matter what season you are in. Never give up and always remember to look towards your source.