Surely he will have no respite from his craving; he cannot save himself by his treasure. Nothing is left for him to devour; his prosperity will not endure. In the midst of his plenty, distress will overtake him; the full force of misery will come upon him. When he has filled his belly, God will vent his burning anger against him and rain down his blows on him. Though he flees from an iron weapon, a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him. He pulls it out of his back, the gleaming point out of his liver. Terrors will come over him; total darkness lies in wait for his treasures. A fire unfanned will consume him and devour what is left in his tent. The heavens will expose his guilt; the earth will rise up against him. A flood will carry off his house, rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath. Such is the fate God allots the wicked, the heritage appointed for them by God. – Job 20:20-29
So Zohar continues to describe in some detail what the fate of the wicked is to be. It is still not clear who this description is meant to describe.
Water shows up towards the end when rushing waters of a flood carry away the house of the wicked. Rivers are interesting things… it turns out they are meant to flood periodically. Flooding is what makes rivers dynamic and alive….characteristics that attracted me and led me to get my PhD studying rivers. A river that never floods is quite rare and actually kind of a boring place.
If one observes the pattern of flooding over time it is possible to predict the probability of having floods of different sizes in any given year. Combine the flood frequency with elevation data and one can make maps of the flooding risk in areas near a river. This is how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines flooding insurance rates and building codes.
Most of the time when a home is “washed away by rushing waters” it is because: 1) the home was built in a risky location; or 2) the river has moved as a result of erosion and deposition.
When we place a home in a flood prone area we should not be surprised to one day find that our home has been washed away by rushing waters. In a similar way when we place our bodies and souls in risky places we should not be surprised by the “rushing waters” that they experience. These spiritual floods are not the cause of our spiritual “washing away” but rather a result of the position we have placed ourselves in when the inevitable floods come. Only by planting ourselves and our souls in a correct position relative to the one river can we be “safe”. Floods may come but we will be in a position to withstand them.
Many rivers move over time. Their position changes because the very container they are in, the river bed, is composed of sediments that can be moved by water. In some ways the spiritual realm is like this — although God is not really constrained the way a river is by its bed and banks. God moves according to His plans and purposes which we often have difficulty discerning.
Only by prayer and constant seeking can we remain confident of the position of “the river” and our position relative to it. What is interesting is that the bible seems to suggest that we can actually influence the position and movement of this spiritual river with our prayers….how amazing is that!
Prayer: God help us to position our body and souls so that when rushing waters come we are not washed away.