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Cache la Poudre River, Colorado

I started a new series at the rehab center where I go to teach most Monday afternoons. I want the men there who are struggling with addictions to get the big picture of the Bible. Most have a favorite verse, or have memorized a passage or two that the staff thinks is important. They all know the popular stories like David and Goliath or the Prodigal Son. But not very many of them, if any, know how all the verses, passages and stories fit together in this incredible book known as the Bible.

I am using as my base, the introduction to my English/Spanish NIV Bible. It looks at the sacred scriptures as a drama in six acts. Act one is God’s intention and perfection in creation. Act two is exile; the fall of man. Act three is calling Israel to a mission. Act four – The surprising victory of Jesus. Act five – The renewed people of God. And finally, Act six – God comes home; God makes his home with us in a new heavens and a new earth.

I think this is a good way to look at how the Bible is a unified whole, with each verse, chapter and book relating to all the other verses, chapters and books. When I look at each act, I can clearly see how God loves us and wants us to be happy, from the first act in Genesis to the last act in Revelation.

One of the things that makes me happy when I look at the first couple chapters of Genesis and the last couple chapters of Revelation, are rivers. I love rivers. When I lived in Northern California, I would go to the Russian River almost every weekend to canoe, swim or just relax. When I lived in Colorado and my family would go camping, we always chose a campground next to a river. As a teenager, I loved to spend time exploring the nearby South Platte River. There’s just something soothing, yet exciting about rivers. They are always moving; always going someplace. Almost always getting bigger. And you never know what’s around the next bend.

Genesis two describes the beautiful Garden of Eden that God had made for Adam and Eve. It was full of all kinds of beautiful trees, but perhaps the most beautiful part of Eden was a “river that watered the garden.” (verse 10)

Revelation 21 and 22 describes the wonders of New Jerusalem that descends from heaven to earth. “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel. (21:11)

The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass.” (21:18)

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (21:23)

But my favorite thing about New Jerusalem is found in 22:1, “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.”

So there you have it. At the beginning of the Bible and the end – rivers. In the first act and the last act – rivers. The two most beautiful, incredible places in the Bible, the Garden of Eden and New Jerusalem – rivers. I don’t know about you, but I think God is partial to rivers. I think he is a fan.

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