“There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High”. Ps. 46:4
In the Bible, rivers are often used as a metaphor for peace or solitude. The river spoken of here may be an allusion to a river near Jerusalem, but more likely it is figurative speech for the presence of God. It’s in contrast to the roaring seas and trembling mountains…those external things of life that bring trouble and stress.
Having lived in the southern Rockies for several years, I’ve experience few things as serene as sitting next to a mountain stream. The sound of water gently pouring over rocks and small water falls, the smell of forest the river is providing life to, the light of the sun glistening off of the water…ahh, just writing about it brings peace to my soul!
Spiritually, we must learn to find our way to the banks of the river that flows from God’s presence. The point the Psalmist is trying to make is that God is in our midst. If we can learn to be present with Him, we will find peace and joy in spite of the circumstances of life…He becomes our fortress and rest. Just as my heart finds gladness in the mental image of sitting next to a mountain stream, my soul finds rest as I learn to sit in the holy presence of God. When I employ spiritual practices that bring me to that place, my soul is refreshed and restored.
— Kent Liles