Wade in the water
Wade in the water, children
Wade in the water
God’s gonna trouble the water
“Wade in the water “is an African American jubilee song created and sung by African Americans in slavery.
Have you ever thought about the human fascination with water?
Yes, we need it to live. Our bodies are made of it. But I’m talking about what seems to me to be a primal instinct to be near water. When you look at any area in the United States that is near water, the population is denser. Wanting to live on the coast and feel the ocean, is not a requirement to live, nor is it to profit from tourists, it’s something else. Something deeper, and pure.
Living near a freshwater or saltwater lake, isn’t just so we can walk out the door and go fishing. Living near rivers is not just because we want to watch boats go by while we fish from the bank. True fishermen do not go to the water just to fish, they need the contact of the water.
This is not a modern phenomenon. Our ancient ancestors knew the importance of water.
Water is mentioned in the Bible 722 times, more often than faith, hope, prayer, and worship. In the book of John we learn of the pool of Bethesda where afflicted people waited for an angel to ‘trouble’ to water. The first to enter pool was cured of their affliction. Jesus told of God’s salvation as living water. Is it accidental that water is the only symbol that is shared by all world religions; I think not.
Could that primal need be the Creator of all things guiding us home, in ways I don’t fully understand?
In my country there was a dark period when slavery was legal. It is believed that the great Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who returned to the South thirteen times and helped free more than 70 people, sang “Wade in the Water” to warn slaves to get off the trail and into the water to prevent dogs-used by the slavers-from finding them.
I grew up around creeks and small streams. Around age 11, I would go exploring in the woods around our home, I always ended up by the creek that was down in a hollow. I would take off my shoes and wade in that water. I loved the feel of the cold water and the earth beneath it. I picked up the smooth stones, usually putting some in my pocket for future mischief. I also found a large vine of some sort on a tree near the bank. After seeing Tarzan swinging on vines in cartoons, I figured I could too.
I started running, grabbed the vine, and went sailing to the other side. Well, that was the plan, anyway. The vine snapped and I landed about two feet short of the opposite bank. Then I had to go home and explain why I was wet, and my clothes were covered with mud. I never cared for man-made pools, they’ve just never appealed to me.
I believe gently flowing rivers represent positive, spiritual energy. Waterfalls are so incredibly powerful and beautiful; they seem to energize the spirit just being near them. We are blessed to have at least three waterfalls only a short drive away. My favorite is Little River Falls. I like to hike down to the top of the falls and lie on the warm rocks, then remove my shoes, take off my socks, and wade to my heart’s content.
Perhaps we all should pay more attention to our spiritual health and spend time healing our worried minds. Maybe a walk in the water, spiritual and physical, would do us good.
I hope you will join me as I hike down to the top of the falls, lie my aching back on the rocks warmed by the Spring sun, then take the shoes off my tired feet, roll up my pant legs, and go wade in the water.