If we hurried in the morning, we would have a few extra minutes to take the river road to school.
Of the two routes, it was preferable. U.S. 1, flanked by used car dealerships and run down gas stations, was cluttered with cars and offered no enticing scenery. However, Indian River Drive wove alongside the Indian River Lagoon where my father and his father before him fished, dove for lobster, and caught shrimp and crab.
We might see porpoises, osprey, seaturtles, or schools of mullet. Dad would roll the windows down, and if it was lowtide, the smell of the crimson and green seaweed reminded me of time spent on the islands in the lagoon or in his boat. To this day, I never think the seaweed smell is unpleasant.
Coconut palms shaded the road, and beautiful homes adorned the shore. Dad once told me, as we looked at an old photo of Indian River Drive before it was paved, that the river road was there long before U.S. 1 was built. I remember wishing that it had stayed that way.
Now, I live in what is called by some, ‘The Great American Desert’ thousands of miles from coconut palms and seaturtles. The contrast is startling as I drive and my son points out a coyote. The arid brown grasses around the coyote’s den have their own style of beauty, but there is certainly no lagoon here.
The Psalmist lamented the dry area the Lord had led him into, “Yet You have broken us in the place of jackals and covered us with the shadow of death.” Jackals are a version of our coyote, I guess, and the Psalmist also delivered the promise, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
The Lord can walk in either place.
He can also transform deserts into lagoons! Isaiah wrote, “For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.”
Whether you live beside a lagoon or in the high plains, it is possible to be in a spiritual desert. Do you feel broken in the place of jackals? You need Jesus.
Right in that dry place, Living Water appears because He is the Living Water that quenches your thirsty soul. There, in the lagoon that was once a desert, with the reeds and rushes (and seaweed?) on either side, there is a road.
“A highway shall be there; and it shall be called the Way of Holiness…It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray…The ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.”
Then, we will all be asking, “Daddy, can we take the River Road?”