8:18

Clear water here

Clear water here

I only notice the bird because it is dancing. 

At least, that’s what it looks like to me.  Perched on a flat rock at the top of a dramatic waterfall, it hops repeatedly, turning its tail one way and then another.

Later, when I have phone service, I text my bird-expert friend (he’s written books about them), and he tells me it’s a Louisiana waterthrush.  It’s considered an indicator species for clean, fast-moving streams.  If they’re present, it means the water is healthy enough to support aquatic insects.

As if to make this obvious to a birding neophyte like me, it actually brought those bugs in its mouth for its photo-op.

Oddly, this makes me think of my slow stroll through Isaiah 35:

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.
Then will the lame leap like a deer,
    and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
    and streams in the desert.  (vs. 5-6)

As a reminder, this passage recalls the Exodus.  So, “then” in both verses refers to God’s act of deliverance, of salvation.  It’s the out of and into that I mentioned in my last post.  This is the beginning of the journey into the land and life God had promised.

Look at the transformation that happens when God saves his people!  Eyes and ears are opened – we have a new way of perceiving the world we journey through.  We are given new strength and a new voice.  Through all, joy flows.

To use this bird as a metaphor, we are the indicator species for this transformation.  Everywhere we go, we unleash the flowing stream that gushes forth in the most hostile of environments.  Jesus said that the water he gives “will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  (John 4:14).  We bring that spring wherever we go.

The world desperately needs truth that has power to enact change – in personal lives, in societies, in the physical environment around us.  That transformation won’t be complete while we’re on this journey to the Promised Land, but our lives should point the way.

People should know, when they see us, that clear, living water is nearby.

Dancing is optional.

Jesus, be the spring that wells up inside us.  You have opened our eyes and ears.  You’ve filled our lives with power and joy.  Help us to let the world know that you have the water they thirst for.

Reader: I’d love to hear about the most beautiful stream you’ve encountered.  Tell me about it.

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Bruce Van Patter

As a freelance illustrator, graphic recorder, and author, Bruce is on a lifelong journey to delight in the handiwork of the Creator. And he’s always ready for fellow travelers.