By Les Turner
About 32 miles from Natchez Mississippi, is a town called Rodney. Rodney missed becoming the capitol of Mississippi by three votes back in the day. In 1763, the French settled on this important area that at the time was right on the river. It was called “Petite” or “Little Gulf,” which is the sister to the big gulf which we now know as New Orleans.
In the early 1800`s, a Man named Dr. Rush Nutt moved to the region and settled there. He was a medical doctor but also a planter and a scientist helping Rodney to grow into a vibrate and busy port city loading ships with crops and cotton. By the 1850`s, Rodney had become the busiest port on the Mississippi between New Orleans and St. Louis. Steam boats stopped to drop off and pick up passengers. By this time the city grew to nearly 1,000 people and boasted 35 stores and two banks. In another 10 years, the city quadrupled to 4,000 people with 4 churches, hotels, and saloons.
Like many southern towns, Rodney was affected by the civil war and the town was ravaged. Then it was nearly consumed by fire.
But a “greater” disaster was forthcoming.
After years of prosperity, the town’s folk had not noticed all the debris that they produced and some ended up in the river. Over time, the junk and silt slowed the river and a sand bar began to form. With that, the river began to move and change its course away from the town.
When the town started to pay attention, it was too late, the damage was already done.
Without the river, there was no port and no exporting or importing. The town began to die, and people began to leave. This once bustling city became a ghost town with abandoned buildings in decay and falling apart.
Now there is only one road in and one road out. There is only one church left that is on a historical registry and in decent shape.
I say that to say this.
We need to stay connected to the RIVER.
Many of you know the story of Jesus and the woman at the well.
In John 4:10, Jesus and said to the woman, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”
In John 7:37-38, Jesus said, “Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water’”.
We who are in Christ have a current flowing inside of us–the Holy Spirit, and this current directs us in the way we should go.
When we obey, we are going in the right direction.
When we do not obey, there is a restraint, a resistance we feel that tellsl us we are straying. If we are not careful, junk and debris will begin to accumulate in our lives and if we do not pay close attention with chasing the things in this world–jobs, relationships, prestige, money, stuff–the first thing we know–the river has moved and we are not in the current moving in God`s direction anymore.
What I didn`t tell you is that today, the city of Rodney is about 3 miles away from the river.
And that is how many of our lives are.
We are far from God because we have let junk get into our lives and we have taken our eyes off of Jesus.
The current has moved, and we suddenly we look up and notice that we are far from God.
So now let’s take this opportunity to reconnect, to get back into the current of the Holy Spirit’s leading–feeling the prompting and guiding of God upon our lives once again.
In this place we can reconnect, by repenting, telling God we are sorry for straying, and to go in the opposite direction–which is what repentance is all about.
Not only is this possible, it is VITAL that we stay connected to the RIVER.