moving waters

Mar 21, 2023


Bible questions still pop up regularly in quiz shows and they often cost otherwise sharp players much needed points.

I’m ready for a quiz question asking for the two names given to the last book of the Bible. The book known as Apocalypse is also referred to as the Book of Revelation.

It’s common in movies to think of an apocalypse as a devastating and unwelcome time of destruction. However in the original Greek language of the New Testament the word apocalypse means revelation, to make known or literally to pull the lid off something.

There’s an important fact: In our time, God is not hidden but revealed, present, visible, tangible and real – for those who want to experience the divine.

One of the most vivid metaphors in this final book of the scriptures is that of the rivers: Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God… down the middle of the great street of the city.”

That reminds me of my primary school geography class where I learnt that human settlements were often established along rivers since rivers supported life as well as providing easy movement to other river communities, then to the ocean, and for the more adventurous, over the seas.

The bubbling healing waters at the Bethesda pools in Jerusalem were a gathering place for those who sought healing and today’s first reading  we are reminded that “wherever the water flows, it will bring life and health”.

In the same way as the people in today’s scriptures placed themselves at life-giving and healing waters, we people seeking to grow in faith will carefully consider and wisely choose the environments in which we place ourselves.

A favourite liturgy author, also the shadow-writer of the beautiful prayer section of the Catechism reflects “All the torrents of love that pour from the Spirit of Jesus flow together in the great river of life.” (Jean Corbon)

I spent some time yesterday pondering what I would write for today while walking near then sitting by a little Canterbury river.

As I sat on the banks of the Selwyn (pic above) I savoured the beauty of that…

…I so easily fall into the trap of thinking that I have to work and pray more and harder to get to Jesus. But this powerful image of water, not still and stagnant but bubbling with healing, energy and life, reminds me that Jesus is flowing into me with every breath I take and each prayer I make.

That simple and profound knowledge will keep me focussed for the rest of my life.


FFF IN THE CAFE… Send your name and the name of a cafe or bar to Scribble FFF on a table napkin, take a seat and wait.


Thursday 23 March 2023
10.30am at Le Chat Noir, Greeton 144 Chadwick Rd, Tauranga. (Directions) Frances

Monday 27 March 2023 (and every Monday)
10.00am at Moko (Kudos) in the Bush Inn Centre Christchurch (Directions) Trish

Wednesday 29 March 2023
10.30am at Cafe 28, 28 Cornwall St, Lower Hutt, (Directions) Catherine

Tuesday 11 April 2023 (and second Tuesday of every month)
10.30am at Zenders 44 Hopkins Road, Newstead, Hamilton (Directions). Christina





  1. If you don’t live by a stream with clean drinking water and you have a roof over your head you can save the rain God sends. After all, we all know that God controls the weather.

  2. well said!

  3. Lovely! Well said and well photographed. BTW (By the way), what is the dry stone in the River Selwyn, do you know?

  4. Interesting reflection thank you. Made me think how frequently ‘water’ is mentioned or the Theme in Readings we hear weekly. Today I hope to refresh my mind and turn to the Book of Revelations!
    Thankyou for your Daily Reflections and commentaries.

  5. An amazing reflection, thank you, Father John. The last paragraph spoke to me personally and I pray that this knowledge will keep me focused for the rest of my life.

  6. I must admit ignorance and did not know that the words revelations and apocalypse were related – and had always taken the literal meaning of apocalypse meaning end of the world !! (One is never too old to learn something new.) It is very much a revelation to me about this last book in the bible, and I will have a very different mindset about readings from this source in the future. Thanks for your insights and inspirations as always …


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts



Most people think of the Ascension of Jesus as being a ‘departure’ moment. Jesus was here and now he is gone. We imagine Jesus going up into the clouds and the disciples waving farewell from below.
This is an unhelpful image.
It is essential that we understand what does happen and what does not happen in the Ascension event.
It would be easy to wrongly think that in his ministry showed us how to build the city of God on earth, and now he has gone and the mission is left to us.

touching the sacred

touching the sacred

A few years ago I was on Rēkohu Chatham Islands for what has become one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most sacred days, the ANZAC day of remembrance in gratitude for those who gave their lives, their health, their youth, their service that we may live in peace.
The art above was produced by one of the students at the local Te One school.

every which way

every which way

A good number of Food For Faith readers have discovered one of the more recent FFF initiatives, the weekly Homily Studio.
The recording of this half-hour podcast is one of the highlights of my week.

in the room

in the room

Today’s reflection marks the end of the FFF Lent-to-Easter daily email posts. Thank you for your company on this journey.  While these daily posts (for those who have signed up for the Lent / Advent reflections at this link) will take a break until Advent, those who have signed up to receive every post or regular posts at this link.  You might take a moment now to visit this page now to check your email preferences.

During retreat this week I found myself pondering just how difficult it is to accept that God, in Jesus, is really with me today.

disciplined discipleship

disciplined discipleship

As I write I’m nearing the end of retreat days with a group of fifty priests from across the USA.  As I mentioned a couple of days ago the diversity and youth of the group is remarkable with the majority being aged under 40 and a good number ordained for fewer than five years.