Listening for Abundance, Part II: By the Waters...

Fall Creek. Public Domain.

by Mike Mather
Pastor, Broadway UMC, Indianapolis, IN

Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb from the middle of the street of the city.  On either side of the river is the tree of life with its 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.  Nothing accursed will be found there.

Revelation 22: 1-3 (NRSV)

Joe King takes the room as soon as he walks in.  Plaid shirt, blue jeans, they wear like a suit.  He is at home in the board room or in the woods.  

He is all energy and explosions - laughter, ideas, movements.  Hes on the move.  Always.  Hes Muhammad Ali as naturalist.

He sees you.

He sold insurance, keeping his neighbors safe and healthy, writing policy and caring for the waters.

He loves a good time, out fishing with friends, they tell each other stories.

As a boy he would step into the waters of Fall Creek, where the men would gather and fish. That was my television, Joe says. Fatherless, they became his fathers, his teachers. It was here he heard stories, his feet cooling in the waters.  The men teaching
him about fish, and about life in the city.

He's talking with teen-age Cameron on his porch.  Cameron says, Im weird.  Joe says, Ive been weird every day of my life, and its a good thing.  Any time you are feeling weirdcome sit on my porch and well talk,” doing now what was done for him.

Hes always close to the waters.  It is a member of his community.

Fall Creek is never very wide. No more than 45-50 yards. During the dry of summer it can slow to a trickle. In the spring and in the fall it flows.  It carries fish and the waste of our civilization, such as it is.

Along Fall Creek the waters roll, not the mighty Wabash, not the roaring Mississippi, just waters that literally, in the past, have fed the people.  The men that Joe joined as a boy were catching dinner. The living water whose cost and benefit are rarely (if ever) counted.

We go down by the waters he and I. Every day he steps in the waters. Even now twice a year he leads a clean up of Fall Creek.


Because, he says, I talk to the creek and the creek talks to me and I tell it I will not forsake it.

His whole life he has loved this place, this water. Its more than H2O to him. The waters cleanse and heal.  They breathe, free, reveal,  teach. Fall Creek was his school, his home, his grocery store, his bank.

As they fished the men caught him. Instead of filleting him, they fed him. His gratitude was for the ways the waters gathered and nourished community.

Joe knows times have changed.  He and his friends (the Dirty Dozen Hunting and Fishing Club) still gather with their neighbors, young and old, women and men, to feed each other by the waters of Fall Creek.