by John Hampton
Several years ago Academy award winning actor and 1970s heartthrob Robert Redford directed a movie titled A River Runs Through It. The movie is based on a true story about two brothers who grew up in rural Montana. One rebels against his father, a Presbyterian preacher, while the other is a compliant scholar. The one love the two brothers share with their father is fly-fishing. The river they fish in becomes a metaphor and picture of grace. All is right with the world when they are in the river together.
In the opening pages of the Bible we see a river running. Genesis 2:10 says about the Garden of Eden, “A river watering the garden flowed from Eden.” This river imagery became a powerful biblical metaphor describing the flow of God’s presence and power that brings life in this world. “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells” (Psalm 46:4).
Streams of Healing
A river runs through the place of God’s first attempt at relationship with humanity, and a river runs through the place of God’s completed reconciliation with his people.
Revelation 22:1, 2 speaks of a river where a tree yields fruit every month. This pictures a scene of supreme flourishing, for the water flows from God, the source of life.
John says, “The leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” God desires all people on earth be blessed by the good news of Jesus Christ. The healing stream of life in Jesus is available for all—not just Israel, not just religious insiders, but for all who are thirsty—for whoever wishes to take the free gift of the water of life.
Stay in the Flow
What if the main business of our lives would be to stay in the flow of God’s presence? How would such a commitment affect our worship and praise? I hope we all find out soon.
John Hampton is the lead minister at Journey Christian Church in Apopka, Florida. John and his wife Melinda have two daughters, Anna (24) and Rachel (19). John is vice-president of the 2011 North American Convention to be held in Cincinnati, Ohio, July 5-8.