Crystal Springs Reservoir (right outside of San Francisco)
Last weekend, we traveled to California to visit some of Christy’s family and celebrate her grandfather’s 80th birthday. It was a wonderful trip and such a great chance to be together with so many loving family members that we don’t get to see very often. For me it was really exciting, because I had never been to California and we were flying in to San Francisco… My mind was buzzing with expectation, excitement and tons of pre-conceived notions about what California would be like. I figured we would hop off the plane right onto the Golden Gate Bridge, drive around on really steep streets through thick crowds of famous and fashionable people talking on iPhones to Steve Jobs and the Google guys while stylishly wolfing down Rice-a-Roni and chasing it with all sorts of exotic kinds of coffee.
That’s not exactly what my first impression of California was like. I thought it would be all glitz, money, art and style I wasn’t cool enough to understand, but what I saw was something totally different. I piled our kids into a rental car with Christy’s papa and we rode down Interstate 280 toward Los Altos where they live, and as we left San Francisco behind, I saw a beautiful landscape totally untouched by human hands. 300 yards off the interstate there was a lake sitting still, clean and peaceful under the outrageously blue California sky. Bordering this tranquil water on the other side were rolling, forested hills as old and wild as the foothills of the Smokey’s I was used to back home. It looked like a scene out of the movie Open Range. As we drove past, the water and the hills stood there (they were definitely standing) quiet and strong. The scene was so unscathed by human influence that I thought Lewis and Clark would have seen the very same scene had they stood where I was.
Papa informed me that I was looking at something called the Crystal Springs Reservoir. He told me that San Francisco never gets the water it needs from rain, so they pipe in water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosimite and dam it up in a rift valley caused by the San Andreas fault. He told me that while there are walking trails around the reservoir, there is no development allowed, no dumping, no fishing, no camping and basically no human intervention of any kind allowed in the entire valley. This ensures a fresh and clean water source for San Francisco and its neighbors, but its effects don’t stop there. As a result of this area’s extremely strict protection, many important endangered species are surviving, not to mention the fact that the whole place is excessively and breathtakingly beautiful. That reservoir changed my whole perception of California!
As I looked out over the clean and protected water, certain verses started jumping into the forefront of my mind… verses like Proverbs 4:23 which says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Tom says that it could be translated “for from it come the issues of life.” In other words, protect it, set it apart, and take care of your heart because the stuff that matters for life is in there… I also thought of James 1:27 which says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” I also thought about Psalm 92:12-14 which says, “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God. They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green…”
I looked at the still water and rolling hills and thought, “I want to guard and protect my heart! I want to keep myself unstained by this world! I want to stay planted in the house of God!” I know I can’t really do all that on my own… I need Jesus to keep me clean and protected, and I know that trusting in Him, that’s what I’ll be… and then not only will I have what I need on the inside when the drought comes, but I’ll have that extra something that Crystal Springs had… an arresting beauty of life that changes perceptions… Crystal Springs changed the way I think about California… maybe, trusting in Jesus more, I can change the way people think about Christians.
3 years ago