Hydrology of the Bow River
“All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full. To the place where the rivers flow, there they flow again.” - Ecclesiastes 1:7
“This is 2,300 year old wisdom from the Book of Ecclesiastes that seems to very concisely understand the water cycle. That water evaporates from the ocean, gets stored in the atmosphere via clouds, comes down as snow or rain, and when it comes down on the mountain it’s often stored there, as snow is gathered via groundwater, streams, and rivers, and then through the river, returns to the ocean, again. What a beautiful, complex, interdependent, wonderfully mysterious way of providing water, life to the land … But what does this beautiful system teach us, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, about who we are? What is your word, God, about this river, that runs through the center of where we live?”
In this sermon, Pastor Jon Van Sloten of New Hope Church in Calgary, Alberta, describes how he set out to learn where the water from the Bow River, near their home in the Rocky Mountains, actually comes from. He interviewed scientists who study hydrology and have learned a curious truth about how this particular river keeps a steady flow the full year round. This modulating geophysical “safeguard,” which allows the Rocky Mountains to hold water and let it out at a slow trickle rather than a deluge during the annual snowmelt, speaks to Van Sloten of God’s grace at work in the world—grace we can’t see with the naked eye, but is there all the same.