Our Watershed Begins in God
May 22, 2022
I live a few blocks away from the Boise River. The water I hear in this river comes flowing downstream from Lucky Peak Reservoir, and before that, from springs and snowmelt high in the Sawtooth Mountains. Downstream from my neighborhood, the river flows through the city of Boise, past office buildings and soccer fields, through ponds and fisheries and nature reserves. It will eventually make its way out of the city to empty into the Snake River, which empties into the Columbia River, which empties into the Pacific Ocean.
I’m trying to learn about this river, where it begins and ends. I’m also trying to learn about the other members of this watershed ecosystem, the bald eagles and rainbow trout and cottonwoods that call this river home. I want to learn these things because I am also a part of this watershed ecosystem, as easy as it is to see my “community” as only the humans who walk past me on the riverbanks.
I am walking beside this river today, thinking of the heavenly city that John of Patmos describes in the Book of Revelation:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. —Revelation 22:1-2
The river that flows through this city comes not from a mountain spring but from the throne of God. This river brings life-giving water to all the dwellers of the city—the people walking its streets and the trees planted by its banks. Those trees give their leaves for the healing of the nations, extending the holiness of the water beyond even this borderless city.
As inheritors of this promise, our watershed begins in God—at the crystal-bright water of the baptismal font. To be Easter people is to know where we come from. To be Easter people is to join our song with the whole of creation, in the heavenly city and in our own cities and communities. To be Easter people is to take this knowing and offer it for healing, by whatever rivers we find ourselves planted.