“On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.”
The team head to the river …
I have been to Varanasi twice now, the centre for Hinduism. It is an interesting place known for the fact that it sits on the river Ganges where the Hindus worship it as ‘Mother Ganges’. The walk down to the river from a clean hotel is a walk of dodging the filthy streets and the cows that roam randomly! The river runs from the Himalayas which probably commences with clean pure water as it flows from an ice cave but certainly by the time it arrives at Varanasi it is anything but clean. Yet millions come to be spiritually cleansed, to cremate their loved ones on the river.
Some things we can learn about the river (and I don’t mean the Ganges!).
- In order to get to the river you have to leave first. What you leave may be your security and all that you know. Your ‘city’ may stand for authority, status and people. But you have to leave it in order to get to the river.
- In order to get to the river you have to move towards it. There is a journey that has to be made by a pilgrim.
- The river creates an expectation and anticipation that there will be an opportunity for a divine exchange between earth and heaven. People talk about this and the message is spread that the river becomes famous for prayer.
- The river functions not just for prayer but we will see in a few verses it is the place for baptism. It is here where the spiritual ritual of cleansing and purity takes place. People expect to come from the river changed as a person.
- There are always crowds at the river but there is always a place for you. At the river the people gathered are at different stages of their spiritual life, but there is always a place for you!
I am talking about a different river. The River.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God.
Go to the river today. He is waiting for you!