From the Pastor’s Desk :Rev. Raphael Chow
Dear brothers and sisters of RCAC,
Rivers possess an enchanting charm that lures the human heart and purifies the soul. Whether it’s the thick morning mist before the dawn, the unhurried murmur of the flowing water, the crystal-clear depths revealing the river’s secrets, or the company of reeds and water grasses basking in the evening glow, rivers always have a way of affecting the passersby, causing them to hasten their steps, slow down, or even paused their journeys. In springtime, rivers awaken the trees, grasses, and wildflowers on their banks, signaling the start of a new year. As summer rains arrive, rivers change, sometimes broadening and sometimes narrowing, flowing with urgency and then tranquility, inspiring people to remain vigilant. In the season of autumn, with leaves ablaze in shades of crimson, the river slows down, enjoying the harvest season. Even in the depths of winter, when all seems to wither, the river continues its ceaseless journey, never resting. Rivers, ever-flowing, nurture the land, fostering lush vegetation, adorning trees in grandeur, offering a home for fish, and providing shelter for soaring birds. In the peaceful presence of their flowing waters, turbulent hearts find tranquility, allowing them to release all worldly troubles and focus on the grace and love of the Divine.
In the Bible, rivers evoke a sense of tranquility and the gift of life. Rivers held profound importance for the Israelites, primarily because the land of Israel itself lacked abundant rivers. While the wilderness stretched far and wide, rivers were a rarity within the borders of Israel. In contrast, regions to the south, such as Egypt, or to the east, like Babylon, boasted numerous rivers. Israel had but one significant river in the east—the Jordan River. Spanning an average width of about 100 feet and depths ranging from 3 to 10 feet, the Jordan River was enveloped by luxuriant vegetation and was home to around 30 different species of fish. Indeed, the Jordan River symbolized the wellspring of life.
In the Old Testament, the Lord used rivers as symbols of fulfilling the human heart. He declared, ” I will make rivers flow on barren heights, and springs within the valleys. I will turn the desert into pools of water, and the parched ground into springs.” (Isaiah 41:18). The Lord promised to personally quench the thirst of human hearts, just as He would cause rivers to flow amidst the desert. The original meaning of this “river” is flowing water teeming with life. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ issued a universal call: “37… Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” (John 7:37-38). For those whose souls are parched, they can turn to Jesus Christ in faith. In doing so, Jesus pledged that their souls would be sated, filled with peace (John 16:33) and joy (John 16:24), and graced with eternal life (John 3:16). Moreover, this is a mighty river that gushes forth from the depths of the heart, becoming a wellspring of life. However, the condition is “faith”: to believe, to receive, and to wholeheartedly follow the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Mere knowledge and acknowledgment without will not yield the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise; it would be akin to stagnant, lifeless water incapable of bringing life to its surroundings. But for those who believe in the Lord Jesus and follow His lead, obediently heeding His commandments, a new life is assured, a radiant existence awaits, and glory is brought to His name.
May your life flow like a river of living water, transforming deserts into pools of life wherever you tread. May God be glorified through you.
Your servant in Christ,
Pastor Raphael Chow