The view from the small bridge produced a big surprise - a pair of ducks serenely going about their business in a swift-moving stream. What's so surprising about that?

It very possibly could have been the first ducks on that creek since the 19th century. The stream happened to be Shamokin Creek, which had been Shamokin's and Coal Township sewage channel for well over a century.

A modern sewage system and waste treatment plant took care of that problem, but the stream was dead to animal life because of the acid water that made its way into the water from long-abandoned coal mines. A conservation effort by a dedicated group of volunteers brought that problem under control.

A pair of water fowl swimming on a Saturday morning signaled that the stream had been restored to at least some of its former glory. The stones along the creek are still stained orange from the acid water, and the banks are littered in more than a few spots with the trash of thoughtless people.

Of course, our souls are sometimes in the same poor shape Shamokin Creek once was.

Our souls often are often polluted with the waste of sin. Ill-treatment of others and sacrilege to God eat away at our souls like acidic mine water.

The good news is that the Living Water of God can flow through our souls, cleansing them and restoring them to full life. Sure, the stain of sin can return and we can pollute our soul again through weakness and thoughtlessness.

However, we know that Christ's death on the cross removed the stain of sin and fear of death. If we live in God's love, our souls will one day flow back to the source of the Living Water.

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We must be channels of God's love.