You Can’t Step in the Same River Twice

“Now a river flowed out of Eden to water the garden; and from there it divided and became four rivers.” – Genesis 2:10

I’m fascinated by the river I live next to. Maybe Dubuque’s natives are used to it, but the Mississippi River is brand new to me, and each season reveals a new side to its personality.

The winter river has surprised me with its beauty. Without green leaves to distract the eye, the water’s grays are darker and its shadows are stronger, especially when set against a sprinkle of snow over ice. In winter, the water gets to take center stage.

I took a photo from outside the River Museum, but added a quote from inside the building, where the walls are decorated with the words of writers through the ages, all trying to describe the indescribable – the river. Heraclitus hit it right for me, about the river and other things: “You can not step into the same river twice.” Words, paintings,  poetry and certainly the snapshot taken from my phone or this devotional can never describe a river, so why bother?

Because maybe the river describes us. Maybe God has filled the world with signs and clues to guide us toward the living, the beautiful and the true, in other words, back to God. What better place to seek the artist than in the art itself?

Maybe one day I’ll get used to living by a river but I hope not. I don’t want to miss these views, because this river will never look the same twice.


“Shall we gather at the river,
Where bright angel feet have trod,
With its crystal tide forever
Flowing by the throne of God?
Yes, we’ll gather at the river,
The beautiful, the beautiful river;
Gather with the saints at the river
That flows by the throne of God.”

16177.jpg About the Author
Lillian Daniel’s new book Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To: Spirituality without Stereotypes, Religion without Ranting is now available for purchase, but you can hear it all for free at 1st Congregational Church of Dubuque, Iowa