He leads me beside still waters
For a few moments let's take time out - come with me to a different place and a different time close your eyes if you wish and imagine . . .
. . . serene, calm, still and that day, that moment is one of my most treasured memories.
Sitting on the beach at Earlsferry as a young teenager, eagerly participating in the Scripture Union Seaside Mission, hungry and thirsty for stories of Jesus, singing songs the words of which stay with after nearly forty years:
"By blue Galilee, Jesus walked of old, by blue Galilee wondrous things he told"
Was the Firth of Forth, flowing out to the North Sea, anything like the sea of Galilee to look at?
When Jesus walked along its shores, or along the shores of the river Jordan , was he mesmerised by the sparkles on the water, dazzled by the light, soothed by the quiet sounds of the still waters?
It is of little wonder that the psalmist speaks of still waters,
The waters of a stream or river are still but not stagnant - as long as there is sufficient water flowing then there is, within its depths, life and movement.
Drifting slowly along the river brings life and sustains life: - fish for catching, water fowl for eating - water for drinking, cleansing wounds, for healing.
The reading from Revelation talks about the river that flows through the streets of the heavenly city, crystal clear, and in its banks grow the trees which bear the leaves for the healing of the nations - again, precious water that sustains life.
And in another river, a very different river, Jesus was baptised. The River Jordan was where John the Baptist carried out his ministry and where, as we know, Jesus came to be baptized.
So let us consider for a moment our own baptism -
'By water and the Holy Spirit,
The cleansing power of water and the Holy Spirit to wash us free from sin and death, first encountered at our Baptism is still at work in our lives today.
And listen, too, to the words that Christ himself spoke to a foreign woman who came to a well to draw water and who came away with so much more. . .
Jesus said ". . .those who drink of the water that I give them will never be thirsty." The water of life, knowledge that will never dry up, that will sustain us for all eternity, living waters.
The saying goes that still waters run deep.
We read of water in the Scriptures and we learn much.
Still waters run deep, sustaining life and healing our wounds, cleansing us from sin through Holy Baptism.
May we all, as the Psalmist before us, walk in the company of the Good Shepherd, beside calm still waters that soothe our troubled hearts, that inspire us, refresh us and will that sustain us our whole lives through.
Still waters, living waters, healing rivers - Lead us beside them Lord, we pray.
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