Yet if you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by. Life will be brighter than noonday, and darkness will become like morning. You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid, and many will court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and escape will elude them; their hope will become a dying gasp. – Job 11:13-20
Waters gone by…sounds a lot like the expression “water under the bridge”. Both expressions mean essentially the the same thing –what is past is past and we need not let it permeate our present or foul up our future. Why do we want to hold onto waters that have already passed?
I have prayed and pondered about why we sometimes hold onto “water that has already gone by” today and I have come up with three possible reasons (I am sure there are more): 1) we do not know we are doing it; 2) we are afraid to face the present and future for some reason so we hold onto the past; 3) we do not have a support system or communication skills to process past hurts or problems.
Water as it flows changes whatever it flows over. It carries nutrients, oxygen, sediment, seeds, and a myriad of aquatic critters. Typically water that is moving is safer to drink or use than stagnant water. This is because moving water creates an entire symphony of interacting ecological processes which, when functioning properly, tend to remove waste products and pathogens that make water unsafe.
Sometime people create “dams” in an effort to stop the “flow” of “water” in their lives. This can sometimes be because past hurts are simply too painful to be allowed to pass by again…so a dam is constructed to stop the flow of this painful “water”. Unfortunately this also stops the flow of the healing living water that God provides.
A properly functioning ecosystem of people following Christ can help people to “free the river” and allow water to pass. The Christian ecosystem includes listeners, prayers, teachers, learners, and people willing to share their time and prayerfully help others allow “the water to pass by” without recalling it (or saving it for later).
Prayer: God help us to participate in a healthy Christian ecosystem so that the water flowing in our lives, and the lives of others, is healthy and life giving.