(A poetic reflection on John 7:37-52, today’s Daily Office Gospel reading)
When Jesus said,
“As the scripture has said, “Out of the believer’s heart* shall flow rivers of living water””
he was probably referring to the story
where the water came out of the rock in Exodus 17:1-7,
and maybe he was thinking on the side a little
about Proverbs 18:4 or Zechariah 14:8…
But I like to think
about what floats along,
carried by the power of that river.
More than once
I have stood on the banks
of the Mississippi or Missouri River
and have seen entire trees…
ripped from their moorings by flood or tornado…
floating down the “Father of Waters” or the “Big Muddy.”
Once I even saw a house floating down it.
Rivers have the power
To carry much more
Than I can ever hope to carry.
I am reminded
That God can carry what I cannot.
And when those old heavy burdens…
rear their heads in a new permutation
that distracts my mind from God
that there is a river
whose source is the land of milk and honey
where I no longer have to carry the burden
and can let it go into the water and float away
at whatever speed the river can take it.
The scary part, of course,
is that I must also get into the water
and float under a power greater than me
that doesn’t tell me where it’s taking me.
May God give me the courage
to take a float trip
when my instinct
is to wear myself out swimming against the current,
trying to hold on to the thing that will pull me underwater.
Maria Evans splits her week between being a pathologist and laboratory director in Kirksville, MO, and gratefully serving in the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri , as Interim Priest at Trinity Episcopal Church in Hannibal, MO.