“He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

Psalm 1:3

The Santa Cruz is a river in the Sonoran Desert in the Southwestern U.S. It once flowed year-round and nourished a large grove of mesquite trees. At its largest, the grove covered eight square miles, and some trees were as tall as 75 feet. But when the river dried up in the 1940s, the trees died.
Psalm 1 warns that those who do not live by God’s law will dry up—like those trees—and die. God will blow them away in judgment like chaff in the wind. But it also promises that the one who drinks daily and deeply from God’s law will be blessed.
To understand this promise, know that “law” (torah) refers here to the whole Covenant: both law and gospel. It’s not enough to learn the law; we must also learn how our disobedience is forgiven through Jesus, the One whom the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah spoke of as the living water of eternal life.
“Whoever drinks of the water I give him,” Jesus said, “will never be thirsty again” (John 4:14). Unlike the rivers of this world, the living waters of Jesus flow forever. Live in Him and you’ll never die.
Author: Rev. Christopher Chelpka has been a pastor for seven years in Tucson, Arizona, where he lives with his wife Della and their five children. A graduate of Westminster Seminary California, he has received fellowships from the Fund for Theological Education and the Acton Institute. Before his ordination, Pastor Chelpka was a music teacher for 12 years. As a professional cellist, he has performed and recorded with various orchestras in Arizona and California, as well as with award-winning musicians. He currently plays with the Tucson Repertory Orchestra and teaches string classes.

Scripture Focus

Psalm 1


Lord, as I meditate on your Word, make me like a well-watered tree. Bless me and bring forth the fruit of faith.

Bible In A Year

  • Job 41-42
  • Psalm 62
  • John 1