The Water and the Bridge

Taken from Sipsey River bridge near White's Chapel Church of Christ. You can see the remains of the old bridge in the background.

I was enjoying my lunch the other day at one of the local eateries.  A creek crossed the road nearby and I had just driven across the bridge traversing it.  That experience got me to thinking.  We sometimes look back over our life, perhaps to some distant event that was a part of it, and say, “A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then.”  So, here’s what I got to thinking.

The water just keeps on moving.  You often wish it would slow down and not move so fast.  You wish you could grab it with your hands and hold on to it.  But, when you try, it just slips right away.  It doesn’t slow down at all.  You want to hit pause and make the moment linger, make it last so you can milk it for all its got.  You want to savor it, but the water won’t stop.  You long for a bucket to at least catch part of it.  But when you put the bucket in the water, it acts like a sieve, everything goes straight through.  It won’t even slow down, much less stay put for awhile.

You keep struggling.  If the water won’t stop, maybe it will just move more slowly.  If it won’t move slower, maybe you can catch some of it in your bucket and take it with you.  But the bucket is full of holes and your efforts are futile.  There is nothing you can do.  The river rolls on.

The water under the bridge is our life moving through time.  We can’t stop it for awhile, revel in the present, and then make it pick back up again.  The water keeps moving.  The clock keeps ticking.  Time won’t cooperate by kindly stopping and waiting while I enjoy the moment.  Time won’t back up and allow me to revisit the past, either to correct some ill-advised blunder, or to linger for a time in those lost days that I can never reclaim.

How I would like to go back and date my wife again, or change one thing I failed miserably at in high school because of my own stupidity and fear, or redo some of the time spent in college, or make some business decisions differently, or play with my kids when they were growing up, or ask Dad some things I couldn’t think of while he was still alive, or . . . the list goes on – it’s endless.

But the water keeps moving, right on under the bridge.  Why won’t it stop for me?  I’m not that bad of a guy.  Can’t I just get it to back up a few miles . . . a few years?  The water just flows on, ignoring my questions.  If it would just talk to me, I think I could convince it by reason.  But the only response I get is silence.  The river is mute, and apparently deaf.

So, what do I do?  If time won’t stop for me, much less back up, I guess I’ll just have to stay in my boat and make the most of the ride.

This all reminds me of the words of the Old Testament prophet Amos:

But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream. (Amos 5:24 NKJV)

As I sail down the stream which is my life, let me leave in my wake the honorable treatment of my fellow man and an abundance of Christian good deeds.  The main thing is not to stop the river, but to determine its proper course.

We must not forget the words of the Lord to the woman by the well in Samaria:

…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:14 NKJV)

Jesus is that Water of Life.  My brother sees that water when he sees Jesus living in me.  This must be the constant daily goal of my life – that others will see Christ in me.

I cannot stop the water from passing under the bridge.  But I can sure determine its quality.  If I let Jesus purify my life, the water in which my boat is sailing becomes pure along with it. The goal is to make every liter of my water that passes under my bridge to be pure . . . because it comes from Jesus.


One Response to “The Water and the Bridge”

  1. Bobby Valentine Says:

    Jesus is the living stream. Amen. Excellent post John. One of the wonderful texts in the Gospel of John reflects the Water Ceremony on the Festival of Booths … “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me …”

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