The Sound of Refreshment

As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am a runner. When I go running I like to run as much as possible along the wash. The wash is the place where the melted snow and rain of the mountains flow when they get to the city (in this case, the city of Redlands). In the wash, the water runs along a small ravine and it has what amount to dirt trails on each side of this small ravine. That is where I run.

In the late winter and spring the water flows through the wash almost continuously because of the runoff of melted snow and rain from the mountains. This flow sometimes reaches a very fast pace. However, when summer arrives, the flow stops and the watery ravine is transformed into dry and parched ground – except for this summer.

Even this week I have run on the wash and the water is still flowing. Running at this time of year (though I run at 6:30 am) is very hot and the heat can sometimes drain energy and drive. When I hit the wash and hear the flow of water, I feel energized. Hearing the flow of the water in the wash is, for me, the sound of refreshment.

Taken by itself, the water in the wash does not have much going for it. It is brown because of the swirling mud, it often has various forms of detritus which is carried along with it, and it is probably loaded with bacteria so that a large gulp of this water might send a person to a hospital.

However, it is the sound which captures and refreshes. The sound of the water rushing by and its light slapping against the rocks bring to mind other ideas – images of cleansing and renewal, thoughts of healing and relaxation , feelings of refreshment and invigoration. There is nothing in the water itself which brings these things to mind but these ideas come to mind when the water points beyond itself to a greater reality. It is as an echo of these realities that one hears the sound of refreshment.

Think of the great flow of water from the sanctuary in Ezekiel 47 which begins as a trickle but grows to a river which no one could ford. Think of Jesus’ description of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as a river of living water which flows from the innermost being of believers in John 7. Think of the river of life in the middle of the holy city in the prophecy of John in Revelation 22. The rushing and slapping of the water in the wash carries me beyond itself to spiritual realities, those things which truly refresh.

I believe the world is full of these kinds of things – echos and reflections of glory. However, I also believe that we, myself included, are often so busy. frazzled, drained and weary that we miss those things in this world that can point us to the spiritual realities beyond.

Take time this week to try to slow down enough to hear echos and see reflections. As paradoxical as it might seem, running is when I slow down enough to hear and see. These echos and reflections are part of the glory of the grind provided for us by a gracious Lord. Then share with other readers of this blog what you have heard and seen.



About Dr. John H. Harbison

Son of God, Husband, Father, Author of "Keeping Christ in Ministry,"Vice-President for Academic Affairs, College Pastor, Runner, Writer
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