“Ready”? You could hear the challenge in his voice. My oldest son was a few feet in front of me ready to be off, to share another adventure with his dad. He had experienced this ride down a secluded dirt road on several occasions. Today, he wanted me to share the joy he had discovered flying down a road in the midst of some pretty incredible forestry. However, the tone of his voice left no doubt he intended to finish this ride as he was beginning; in front. We’d see about that!
It had been a long time, years in fact, since I had ridden a bike on a dirt road, much less tried to control one while careening down a road with enough loose gravel to bring down a rider any second. A few minutes into the ride as he disappeared around a corner my bike slipped from under me and I bounced a couple of times before skidding to a stop. Thank God for helmets! I finished the ride and even though he kept looking back to make sure I never closed the gap between us enough to allow me to overtake him before the ride’s finish, I found an opening and took it. He saw me coming, but it was too late. I whizzed past him and into the parking area of the trail head—in front. I won. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.
That ride and its accident proved to be a watershed event. Days later I found myself in the emergency room with what was diagnosed as a migraine headache. An X-ray, CT scan, and eventually an MRI were ordered when the pain did not subside. The neurologist said the pain came not from a migraine, but from a neck injury probably stemming from what had seemed like a minor crash on the bike. Weeks of physical therapy led to multiple opportunities to think about health and what would be required for a middle aged guy to avoid that kind of pain in the future. An increased focus on exercise, nutrition, relationships, and spiritual growth ensued.
Mr. Webster defines watershed as “a crucial dividing point, line, or factor: turning point”. In a macro sense that is what the first chapter of Genesis describes. God created the material universe, blessed it, and declared it not just good, but very good. Then IT happened. Humans did the ONE thing God said not to do. They sinned, i.e. they did wrong. Everything changed. Weeds began to grow. Childbirth brought intense pain. Humans lost the close relationship they had previously enjoyed with God. It’s called the Fall.
God was, and is, undeterred. He called in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, “Where are you?” Jesus, God’s Son, came “to seek and to save”. God never gives up on men and women. He is constantly inviting them to come home, to walk into His waiting embrace. We can choose which side of sin’s dividing line to live on. He guarantees us the ability to choose. It is called prevenient or preventing grace. He will never allow us to become so evil as not to be able to choose a life with Him over a life without Him.
John Wesley Powell, scientist geographer, put it best when he said that a watershed is “that area of land, a bounded hydrologic system, within which all living things are inextricably linked by their common water course and where, as humans settled, simple logic demanded that they become part of a community.”
Jesus is pure living water. Drinking this water keeps us healthy body, mind, and spirit unlike the polluted waters of greed, pride, and selfishness. We are not stuck. We can choose what watershed to live in.