Roots by the River

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and will not fear when heat comes, but its leaf will be green; and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jer. 17:7-8)

This river is a fascinating and powerful theme that we see running throughout all of Scripture, from the opening chapters of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation. Beginning in Genesis 2: 8 we get the first picture of this river. The Scripture says, “The Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the East [this is Paradise on earth] and there He put the man whom He had formed. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden.” When we get to Revelation, we see that tree of life again. This river that flowed out of Eden was designed to water the garden, and it divided to become four rivers that would flow throughout this entire region of the earth.

So, in the Garden of Eden, God creates this river to make a Paradise for man, lush and beautiful, and fruitful. As we see it running through Scripture, it is a picture of God’s Presence and God’s Glory for the sustaining of blessing and abundance.

It’s interesting that we read, “Our God is our refuge and strength… therefore we will not fear… there is a river [singular] whose streams [plural] make glad the city of God” (Ps. 46:1-4). So that is the river of God, a river of God’s provision, a river of His Presence that flows out from His heart and into every part of the City of God, reaching the People of God. The Church, established by Jesus Christ receives its resources by having its roots by the river. It flows out to where you live, to where your family calls home and your community rests secure. One river, that’s the Presence of God; but then it divides, distributes, and flows out to all the places in need of refreshing.

  • To the family who lives out in the cornfields of Iowa, the river of God has a stream that goes out there.
  • To the man who works on the stock exchange in New York City, the river of God is flowing there also.
  • To the woman who longs for more in the slums of Calcutta, the river of God has made a path.
  • To the child who waits in darkness along the streets of Kampala, the river of God is winding through the shadows.

Spreading out the Roots:

We read in Psalm 1 a description of the man who delights or spreads out his roots; in the law of the Lord… meditating, listening and embracing God’s voice. It says, “He’s like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers” (Ps. 1:3). Here we see the refreshing, life-giving supply of God’s River that comes to the thirsty. How? …through His Word. Through meditating day and night on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit begins to flow. That is how you get the river to flow and bring refreshing to all the dryness of life.

“They are abundantly satisfied with the fullness of Your house. And You give them drink from the river of Your pleasures (delights). For with You is the fountain of life. In Your light, we see light.” (Ps. 36:8-9)

“You visit the earth and water it; you greatly enrich it; the river of God is full of water… You water its ridges abundantly, You settle its furrows, You make it soft with showers, and You bless its growth” (Ps. 65:9-10)


These verses speak of an abundant supply, a sufficient supply of God’s grace and precious resources. Sometimes we feel like the river of God is just a little, tiny trickle running through our lives. Sometimes we have even felt as though the river has run dry, because we have found ourselves in drought, barren and weak. But, we must go to the Scripture and be reminded that God gives us abundance, as we drink from the river of His delights. With Him is the fountain of life… and there is no dryness there! Meditate upon these words… God visits the earth and waters it; He greatly enriches it and this river of God is full of water – for your soul!

Listen, I’ve got some desperate circumstances in my life right now, and some of you do, too. I want you to know, there’s no lack to the river of God. Its full. Its always full. Its full when I’m empty. Its full when I run dry. Its available and flowing with fresh resource. And that river of God can run through my life by faith every time I have a need… if I will just set my roots by the river.

God is saying, “You want to be fruitful? You want to avoid spiritual barrenness? Then get planted by the river. Set your roots by the river of God!”

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