Here’s the wee parable, ‘Rivers & Buckets’ lifted from my book, ‘Way Beyond The Blue’
Rivers & Buckets
Rivers pop up everywhere in religious scriptures probably because they’re sources of water, that is itself symbolic of Spirit. They’re everywhere – in Eden, the God Garden, right the way through to the New Jerusalem, the God City. What is it about this particular imagery that places it in so many holy writings or scriptures?
Well, water, if you’ll excuse the pun, is essential to life, especially for those inhabiting the barren and often dry lands of the Middle East. Remember no water = no life. I want to develop this thought a bit further, if I may, by exploring the idea of flowing water, i.e. our entitled River above.
May I suggest that you read the following short story before taking a few minutes to tune into your inner Voice. Ask Spirit to reveal anything that He wishes to communicate to you. In the meditative silence you may become aware of pictures, thoughts or even bodily sensations breaking through into your conscious mind. In the next chapter I’ll share my own thoughts on the little parable.
Once upon a time a small group of people found themselves travelling by raft along a very powerful river that snaked its way through a varied and yet extremely exciting terrain. One minute they sailed in fairly calm waters, the next, a waterfall confronted them that threatened their very existence. The thing that excited the crew was their sense that the river was alive, full of movement and yet totally unpredictable. As they floated along, dodging the rapids that regularly came their way, the travellers noticed the fish that reassuringly swam alongside, also hearing the neighbouring bird song that drifted through the warm still air.
When the travellers tried to control their raft they’d end up in the brink, soaked to the skin. The only effective way to make progress was to trust the raft as the river’s untamed waters carried them along. Their destination was a city, famous for its gold, that lay at the rivers end, as it merged with the Great Ocean.
After a few days, however, one or two of the crew decided that enough was enough! The river banks, with their rich vegetation, looked very appealing as a place where the travellers could rest. Eventually a vote was taken and the decision made. The raft would be hauled into a small quiet inlet on the riverbank and camp set up for the night. The travellers realised that water was essential to life and so, once camped, walked to the water’s edge and captured some of the crystal clear river water in a few old rusty buckets. The ride on the river had been exhilarating but now they’d decided to rest, the buckets providing the perfect receptacle for the precious river water.
Next morning, after a sound night’s sleep, the travellers decided to remain on the bank for another day, mesmerised by the surrounding sights and sounds of the countryside. The day’s water was drawn from the nearby river and the rusty buckets given pride of place in the camp. A few days later, someone raised the idea of staying for good at the river’s edge and building a simple settlement. Then they could have the best of both worlds! This novel suggestion was wholeheartedly and unanimously agreed upon by the travellers. After all they’d still be close to the river and could draw on its fast flowing water.
A month later, now enjoying the sumptuous fruit that grew on the river bank, the raft travellers had morphed into settlers. One evening, one of the party suggested that they should build a special place for the buckets due to their importance within the life of the fledgling community. The old raft was taken apart, plank by plank and its river-battered wood carefully prepared for its new use.
Next morning the settlers started upon their new project with great vigour. At the end of a laborious day, a small ornate building had been constructed and the freshly filled buckets placed on a gilded altar, for all to revere. That night the settlers partied until well past mid-night, celebrating the newly finished sanctuary for their ‘beloved’ buckets, the blessed containers of their daily water supply.
Awakening late the next morning, the keeper of the buckets lifted them from their sacred, resting place and walked enthusiastically down to the river’s edge to draw water, as was his daily habit. What a shock awaited him! All that lay before him was a dry river bed. Not a drop of water in sight. The river had changed its course overnight, now flowing through a distant land, where a new bunch of travellers were queuing up to ride it as it flowed towards the city of gold. As the stunned bucket keeper stared into his empty buckets, a small tear gently slipped down his freshly blanched cheek. Paradise lost!