The Rock and The River

She was sat on a rock in the river, alone, washing some clothes. This Filipina lady had her face looking downward while washing her clothes. It wasn’t a happy face. Though, not entirely sad either. It was like she was contemplating but aware that she was also alone, sat back in her all-too-familiar surroundings left wondering ‘what next?’, ‘how is this going to be possible?’, ‘was everything I heard really true?’.

As the lady held the white piece of clothing in her hand in the middle of this river in the Philippines, amongst the questions, she also felt this reassuring sense of comfort.

The lady was sat on a rock. This was important. Jesus once said to Peter following his revelation from heaven that Jesus was the Messiah; on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it (Matthew 16:18).

But it was her position in the river that was also significant. She wasn’t sat by the side of the river washing her clothes. The rock she was sat on was positioned in the middle of the river.

The Life-Giving River (Ezekiel 47:1-9)

47 Then he brought me back to the entrance of the temple and there was water flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the temple faced east. The water was coming down from under the south side of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. Next he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate that faced east; there the water was trickling from the south side. As the man went out east with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a third of a mile[a] and led me through the water. It came up to my ankles. Then he measured off a third of a mile and led me through the water. It came up to my knees. He measured off another third of a mile and led me through the water. It came up to my waist. Again he measured off a third of a mile, and it was a river that I could not cross on foot. For the water had risen; it was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be crossed on foot.

He asked me, “Do you see this, son of man?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I had returned, I saw a very large number of trees along both sides of the riverbank. He said to me, “This water flows out to the eastern region and goes down to the Arabah. When it enters the sea, the sea of foul water, the water of the sea becomes fresh. Every kind of living creature that swarms will live wherever the river flows,[d] and there will be a huge number of fish because this water goes there. Since the water will become fresh, there will be life everywhere the river goes.

What started as a trickle became a deeper flowing, life-giving river. And this wasn’t for the efforts of the one who was in it. Step by step, measure by measure, the river slowly but steadily became deeper to the point where everywhere it went it would turn foul waters into fresh, everywhere it went, there was abundant life.

As we position ourselves on the rock of Jesus Christ and trust God with our lives, as we let Him in and begin to follow His direction, His Spirit in our lives that may appear to start as a trickle of water will, in time, become a life-giving fresh flowing river.

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