About 20 years ago, I was in the historic Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, where I was speaking at an event in that city. The hotel has a magnificent sweeping staircase, and as I walked down it from my room, I noticed a plaque that commemorated the writing of the song “America the Beautiful” in that very hotel.
The woman who wrote it had been up to Pikes Peak — where she looked out to the plains on the east — and been captivated by the loveliness of God’s grace and beauty. Deeply inspired, she wrote the words we know and love so well: “For purple mountain majesty above the fruited plains.”
High in the Rockies, there is a place that bridges the watershed point of the North American continent. From that point, water flows either to the east or to the west, and consequently the rivers go that direction. Like the flow of water from the Great Divide in the Rocky Mountains, the flow of our worship is pivotal with regard to God’s flow from heaven.
In the Rockies, when you look toward the east, you see the fertile and fruited plains that we sing about and the massive harvest fields that spread to the east where the water flows and disperses itself through the region. But toward the west, though it is not entirely barren, it is by and large an expansive desert. The water does not disperse broadly; it is constricted into a single river and has, in fact, carved a gorge over the centures.
At that watershed, a division takes place, and it’s a dramatic picture of what’s been given to us from heaven. Either a bountiful flow of refreshing, fruitfulness and harvest will happen around us, or like the river that goes deeper and deeper, becoming just a channel of of water with very little dispersion, there are vast tracks of barrenness in our midst.
It speaks to how you and I can get caught up in ourselves and become so deep in our own focus we lose sight of the expansiveness of God, how He wants the flow of His life upon us and through us to the world.
In chapter 47 of the book of Ezekiel, there is a description of a river that flows from under the threshold of the temple of God in heaven. It says that river grows ever wider, ever deeper, and everywhere it flows, there will be life. The fruitfulness that flows from worship is the reason God calls us to it; not to become religious robots, but to bring into our lives the marvel of the possibilities He has intended.
From the point of our “Great Divide” — that is to say, our decision to open to watershed worship — He intends there to flow His divine love, grace, blessing and provision into our lives and the lives of those around us, that we ourselves might become the “fruited plain.” Watershed worship is the way that fountainhead is tapped.