The River Runs

The River Runs

I just got to spend the past three weeks in Alaska where I was able to counsel and lead worship at a Bible Camp outside the village of Unalakleet.  I have been there several years and written a few songs about my experiences there.  But, this year one of the camp stewards was kind enough to take my parents and I on a boat ride down the river.  About halfway through the ride, I began to have part of a melody running through my head.  I was sure I’d probably forget it – as there is nothing to write it down or record it with, but it stuck with me for a few days until I had a chance to work on it.  A friend had also told me recently that their favorite Psalm was Psalm 42, which has the well-known words “My soul thirsts for the living God as the deer pants for water” and “Why are you downcast, oh my soul?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in the Lord for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”  This passage has some beautiful water images in it.  

Then, I began to brainstorm other passages with water references – like John 4 with the Samaritan woman at the well and Jesus tells of the living water – or Jeremiah 2 where the disobedient Israelites dig for themselves broken cisterns, which cannot hold the living water – or Revelation 22 where water flows from the throne of God and the tree of Life is on the river banks!  Another staff member saw me writing and asked about it.  I told him what I was up to and he said, “Don’t forget Ezekiel 47!  The water that flows from the temple that starts shallow but grows deeper!”  

So, a song with simple imagery of a river was able to be expanded into a song about the beautiful imagery of water in the Bible.  I see it as a song that gives our soul hope in the Lord, as the Psalmist asks his soul to have in Psalm 42, because we know that Christ lives and the river runs!!

The River Runs

Why are you downcast, oh my soul?
Put your hope yet in the Lord
How my soul longs for the living God
As the deer thirsts for water

I will remember Your great love
Through the night, You are my song
How my soul longs for the distant shore
Where water flows from the throne
Oh my soul, rest assured the river runs

The river rushes with rhythm in steady time
The river flows ever deeper yet still runs wide
The river laps at the banks that need its Life
Oh, the river runs

Broken cisterns and ancient wells
Could not hold the living water as it fell
Blessed are those who thirst for more
For they shall be filled to overflowing
Oh my soul, believe the river is running

It’s crystal clear
As water flows again from the Lamb
And fruit appears
The tree of Life no longer hidden from man
It will bear its fruit in season
And its leaves will heal the nations
And we will see His face and thirst no more

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