A Tree by a River

Having grown up in Florida beside the gulf, I’ve never understood the “tree planted by streams of water” image in Psalm 1. We don’t have trees by our water. Our water is salty and aggressive. But inland, we have massive trees thanks to wet soil.

Here in Texas though, things are different. Texas trees are short. Blame hardly any rain and empty expanses of land that strengthen the already strong winds.

Anyway, you become accustomed to little, scraggly-looking trees.

Until you visit a river.

I went to San Antonio on Saturday with Justin and the girls, and we walked the famous Riverwalk. Beautiful. And lined with huge, magnificent trees.

Trees planted by streams of water.

 1 Blessed is the man
       who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
       or stand in the way of sinners
       or sit in the seat of mockers.

 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
       and on his law he meditates day and night.

 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
       which yields its fruit in season
       and whose leaf does not wither.
       Whatever he does prospers.

The difference between a tree alone in a field, miles away from the nearest source of water and a tree planted alongside a river? Proximity to life.

I like that what makes me prosper isn’t me. It’s sitting beside a river. A tree doesn’t will its fruit to grow. The tree can’t make it rain or redirect the river’s course.

When John says that rivers of water will flow out of us, he’s getting at this same principle of position. Of putting ourselves in contact with the life-giving water and in so doing allowing God to flow through us, to work in us, to bear fruit in us, to grow us, to glorify Himself.

If I want to be great, I must plant myself next to God and let His greatness blossom in me.