Week 28: Signs and Symbols

When John’s Jesus speaks of living water, we are immersed in a biblical sea of water-word pictures that portray The Story from Genesis all the way through to Revelation.

  • The Spirit hovered over the waters of chaos. God separated the waters from the land, and it was good (Gen 1).
  • The springs of the earth burst out of their bounds and chaos reigned once again until an ark of salvation rode the waves to safety and new beginnings (Gen 9).
  • The waters of the Red Sea parted and God’s people walked through the very center of the seas of chaos—out of slavery and into freedom (Ex 10).
  • Water flowed abundantly from a rock to sustain the lives of God’s wandering people (Ex 17; Deut 8).
  • God is the Lord of all creation who walks on the water, who rules over that chaos and makes a pathway through the seas (Job 9:8; Ps 77:20; Isa 43:16).

And this Jesus—the one sent from God, the one who brings God’s presence to us—Jesus too is pictured as walking on the seas and calming the storms of chaos (Mark 6:45–52; Matt 14:22–33; John 6:16–21) . . .

One of these days, in The Story of stories, when creation is made complete with all its intended goodness, the seas of chaos will be no more. All creation will be gathered around “the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1).

Scripture teems with rich images of earthy, tangible realities that point to the unimagined reality of God’s way, of God’s being.

Throughout Scripture, symbols whisper, hint, glimpse, and suggest a reality that is so real we mortals cannot fathom it. Still we can have a sense of something beyond ourselves, in part, because the symbols are grounded in our own temporal reality, grounded in this world . . .

Read more at Charlotte Vaughan Coyle. Living in The Story: A Year to Read the Bible and Ponder God’s Story of Love and Grace (pp. 326-335). Resource Publications. Kindle Edition.

Living in The Story readings for Week 28

1 Samuel 21-31

Psalm 64

Psalm 88

Psalm 142

Acts 24-28

John 6

Image credit: Rushing River is a photograph by Donna Caplinger which was uploaded on July 8th, 2012.

Author: Charlotte Vaughan Coyle

Charlotte lives and blogs in Paris TX. She is ordained within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and developed Living in The Story while doing doctoral work at Brite Divinity School in Ft. Worth. Charlotte also blogs about intersections of faith, politics, and culture at CharlotteVaughanCoyle.com.