He said to me, ‘Mortal, have you seen this?’ Then he led me back along the bank of the river. As I came back, I saw on the bank of the river a great many trees on one side and on the other… on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees… Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.
“Mortal, have you seen this?” What a vision to behold! The water begins as a shallow trickle flowing from the Temple, and soon turns into a great river, coursing the through the land. This river of God calls people to it because it meets their needs – fresh water, abundant fish, even salt, and it is lined with trees that in turn produce fruit that the people also eat. It is truly a source of life.
The trees that line this river feed the people, but they also produce leaves that are for the people's healing. We aren't told what wounds the people have, but we can imagine, because we know that we all live in a world that wounds, among people and systems that wound. Poverty is a wound, injustice is a wound, hatred is a wound, greed is a wound, alienation is a wound, abuse of power is a wound, violence is a wound, cruelty is a wound, loss is a wound, rejection is a wound. Whether our wounds are visible or invisible, we all need tending to.
We belong to a tradition that has long held the belief that God's healing and freely-given nourishment will, in the end, touch all of life. One day, the barriers that keep people in hunger, in pain, and in isolation will be brought down. All of life will have access to the water, to the food, and to the healing of God. God's justice will become reality. And our tradition teaches us that we have a role to play in bringing that dream to life.
Prayer: O God, we give thanks for the ways in which you attend to the deepest parts of our lives. May your waters, fruits, and leaves touch us all, and may we attend well to our role in bringing forth your dream.