The River is Eternal

“And always, from a time before anybody knew of time, the river had been there. From my sitting place where the woods stood up at the edge of the pasture, I could see the river, risen a little, swift and muddy from the spring rains, coming down the mile-long reach above the Willow Run bend, swerving through the bend and coming on down past the landing, carrying its load of drift. And I saw how all-of-a-piece it was, how never-ending—always coming, always there, always going.”

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (pp. 131-132). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition. 

In this, the 4th week of our Book Study over at Michele Morin’s site:

our friend, Jayber Crow, has begun to settle in as the “Bachelor Barber” of Port William.  The previous barber had pulled up stakes, and left the town in need, to which Jayber stepped in and found a place that was Home. 
(A Little Disclaimer Here: Within these chapters we find some  “earthy” language and experiences that might be unsettling if you are expecting only a “Christian Lifestyle” book.  However, there is much to be gleaned about how the Mercy of our Lord steps into the grittiness of real life.)
As Jayber begins to find some measure of acceptance into the community, he begins to find his own way of accepting. Becoming familiar with his customers, and learning their individual quirks, he makes some keen observations:
 “I liked them varyingly; some I didn’t like at all. But all of them have been interesting to me; some I have liked and some I have loved. I have raked my comb over scalps that were dirty both above and beneath. I have lowered the ears of good men and bad, smart and stupid, young and old, kind and mean; of men who have killed other men (think of that) and of men who have been killed (think of that). I cut the hair of Tom Coulter and Virgil Feltner and Jimmy Chatham and a good many more who went away to the various wars and never came back, or came back dead.”

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (p. 125). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition. 

And once again, the preacher-cum-barber stirred my own heart to look at the kind of acceptance I have been allowed.

How often 
has my merciful savior 
looked beneath to see my dirty places?
How often
has HE parted the coverings
above my hidden failings?
The River of Eternal Love, that flows from the heart of my Lord, will never run dry. I can never exhaust the supply of Living Water that He offers for the cleansing of my ways.

 “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Revelation 22:1

Are you faced with the sight
of failings?
Are you feeling the weight
of too much weakness?

Would you join me at the foot of the Cross,
at the edge of His River of Love,
for this prayer of 
honesty and
Dear Lord of the Waves,
I confess that my soul
is still so much of this world.
I am so in need of your 
Would you have full sway in me,
to part and reveal the places
where I still cling
to the old.
Would you replace my heart of clay
with your Sweet heart of Love,
And cleanse away those old habits
of selfishness.
Thank you that your River of Love
is never ending.
Thank you that there is no one
who can care as deeply as you.
In Jesus Name We pray,

“It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, he saved us from all that. It was all his doing; we had nothing to do with it. He gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit. Our Savior Jesus poured out new life so generously. God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.”
Titus 3:4-6 MSG 

I pray that this classic hymn from Babbie Mason will bless you as it has blessed me today:

You can find Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry at Amazon by clicking here.

I am linking this week with these great bloggers:

12 thoughts on “The River is Eternal

  1. Thank you for drawing hearts to “The River,” Bettie. I have been captivated by the power that the presence of The River (Have you noticed that this is how it shows up on the map in the back of the book? Kind of like “The War.”) has had in Jayber's life, right from the beginning of the book. He introduces it early as if it were a character and then it ends up being the thing that helps him find his way home.
    Thanks be to God for the River of love and mercy that washes over all our failings.


  2. I love your thoughts Bettie.

    Yes, Berry does use some colorful language and relates activities that “fine upstanding Christians” might find offensive. But, deep down, whether we're willing to admit it or not, none of us are that. We've all sinned and we're all in need of forgiveness. The circumstances Berry relates, makes Jayber all the more human and real to me (even if he's only a fictional character). He weaves his words well.

    Jayber serves the people well.


  3. Your prayer resonates in my heart, Bettie, and the song is such a needed reminder of how much Jesus cares for us. Even as you say in the prayer, there is no one who cares so deeply for us. Amen! Thank you for this encouragement today! Have a blessed weekend! Hugs!


  4. Dear Michele,
    I am so glad that you mentioned the map again–all this time when I have seen the references to it in the discussions, I assumed it was only available in the paperback versions. But, no, there it is in the back of my Kindle version as well! I am a map person, so this has made my day. I can see myself referring to it many times in the weeks ahead. 🙂 Yes, I couldn't escape being drawn to “The River” again this week, almost as a continuation from last week. It does feel like a living character, with Berry's rich capturing of it. I am so thankful that our Lord makes such beautiful use of imagery and parable within His own Story to us. What a Merciful and Creative God we serve!


  5. Dear Christy,
    Thank you for your sweet comments here! I so agree with you–none of us have escaped those sin-markers. And we need real stories with real characters to help us see how our own lives can fit into the scope of God's Bigger Story! And, yes, you are so right, that “Jayber serves the people well.” May my own heart be stirred to find God's serving with my own people. Blessings to you!


  6. Dear Trudy,
    Isn't that song such a comforting beacon to trust in Jesus' caring for us? I am thankful that you found encouragement here, Trudy, I have been so in need of that same encouragement myself this week. He does bring us such blessing, in His beautiful care. Hugs and Love to you too!


  7. Yes, sometimes I need to see a Scripture in a different translation to let it sink into my heart in a deeper way. I am thankful that the Lord brought encouragement to you here! Blessings to you!


  8. Oh … I did not know you did book reviews. Thanx for this one. I had not heard of Wendell Berry. I wonder what you'd say about my books?

    Thank you for visiting my Blog. I have responded to your comment there.

    God bless.


  9. I really enjoyed your “Father Ignatius” book, Brother Victor! I hope that my review on Amazon is showing up still? I might need to go check that out. And, once I am finished with this book club, I think I will be ready to check out another book in your series! I may be asking for your referral as to which one is a good next step! Blessings to you!


  10. Thank you for your thoughts on Jayber Crow. Until Michele began her study I had not heard of this book but Michele has a way of picking just the right book that will allow people to dig deep.

    I am not reading the book but your probing questions leave me thinking about myself. You have a beautiful way of sharing your thoughts.


  11. Dear Mary,
    Yes, Michele is such a great book study leader! She does have a way helping people to dig deep! Isn't our Lord so good to help us look even deeper into our hearts? Thank you for such kind words, friend!


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