Whisper Into the Stream

There are things from books, movies, or conversations where something really strikes me and sticks with me. For instance, when I read The Grapes of Wrath, there was a conversation between Ma and Uncle John where John is talking about how bothered he is by his many sins. Ma tells him not to tell his sins to others. Don’t burden them, she urges. Instead, her suggestion was to go down to the river, stick his head under the water, and whisper his sins into the stream. I loved this notion of sending his sins away on the ripples of water in silence.

Like chaff in the breeze, pollen in the air, or leaves falling from the trees… so random where the sins would land. 

Water. It washes us, we drink it, we cook with it, we play in it, and when we put something in it, like a small amount of flavoring or other liquid, it becomes diluted. By definition, diluting is making something weaker. Washing our hands or bodies dilutes dirt—weakens its hold on our skin. So maybe whispering your sins in the stream would dilute the sins.

This led me to think about baptism. I suppose the concept of washing away original sin matches up with diluting, weakening, and washing. I went to a baptism a few years back where the priest actually used the term “exorcism” during the baptism. This shocked me as I’d never heard that said in a baptism before, but I suppose I can see how the rite of Baptism is washing away the stain of original sin.

All this thought about water, also reminded me of reading about a man who wrote messages of redemption, stuffed them in empty 5th of whiskey bottles and pitched them out into the sea. He’d been a drinker, then God saved him from the demon whiskey. His pledge was to use the once sin-filled vessels to preach the message of Christ. He sent salvation to bob away on the waves…

Like chaff in the breeze, pollen in the air, or leaves falling from the trees… so random where the redemption would land. 

Like a sin whispered in the stream, diluted, washed, cleansed. Water carries everything I guess. If you’re a believer, you can’t have eternal life without it. Temporal life would end quickly without water, too. Random? Maybe. Or maybe not. Again, this depends on if you are a believer. One way or the other, this idea of water taking us from sin to salvation is one to think on. Hopefully, my random ramblings will get you thinking about something or another. Just tossing it out there to see where it floats.


6 thoughts on “Whisper Into the Stream

  1. I have made similar observations in the shower. Water is wonderful. It gives us recreation (boating, swimming, seeing a waterfall, playing with squirt guns. floating paper boats and leaves down a street gutter after a rain, wading and splashing, jumping in puddles).

    It bathes us and makes us more desirable to others. (Who wants a sweating, pitted out person next to you at dinner?) It washes our dishes and our floors.

    It gives life. Even prenatally, inside the womb, we are surrounded by water (amniotic fluid.) We need water to survive. Plants need it to grow. It helps us stay healthy by getting rid of germs as well as keeping us hydrated. It helps us cook our food and make foods more appealing.

    On, the other hand, it can cause massive destruction in the form of floods, tsunamis, hurricanes. Too much or too violent, it can drown people and animals. If boiled, it can scald a person. If frozen, we can slip and injure ourselves. If gaseous, the fog can confuse us and cause accidents. If certain microbes are present, it can make us sick, sometimes deathly ill.

    Water is my favorite element. (Although, technically it’s a compound. It is the purest–H20– unlike the other “elements” — fire, air and earth that have lots of “stuff” in them.)

    Thank you for your insight, Gina. It seems natural that water would be a part of many religions and rituals.

    • ginabarlean@gmail.com says:

      It makes me want to read about what Steinbeck’s ideas were… was it his intent to symbolize a type of baptism? It also makes me want to understand more about what the church has to say about water and it’s purpose or interpretation in faith. There are so many things to study!

  2. Everything is dependent on water. Our very existence depends on it: up to 60% of the human body is made up of water. But while it’s life-saving, it can also be lethal. Definitely an element worthy of our respect.

  3. I love your thinking. Water is powerful in so many ways. I mean besides all the ways you described, it carves canyons and shapes mountains. And just even listening to water falling in a falls or river seems to calm me. I love it.

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