Encountering Jesus Watershed by Watershed

Besides seeing Jesus in the needy around us we may meet him in the growing number of small groups that go about doing good as Jesus did in his days on earth.  In his book, “Bewilding the Way, break free to follow an untamed God,”  Todd Wynward describes small communities that care for all of life in a watershed.

Wynward is commissioned by Albuequerque Mennonite Church and the Mountain States Conference to lead a movement toward Watershed Christianity.  To learn more directly from Wynward, click here and browse the links you find there.

A natural watershed forms when little streams come together to form creeks and small rivers. Small rivers become larger rivers. Collectively, a network of rivers and streams forms a system of watersheds which drain the land of excess water.


This slate is from the run. I got it on the day of my mother’s death. I still have it with me.

As young boys my brother and  I were intimately acquainted with a watershed. A small stream appropriately called the “run” flowed through my father’s small organic farm.  Water from several surrounding farms ran down the run to the Conocoheague Creek.  We knew the wildlife inhabiting the run:  minnows, chub, crayfish, water striders, apple smellers, frogs and snakes. Our run flowed into the Conocoheague Creek and it flowed into the Potomac River that flowed into the Chesapeake Bay.

IMG_0503Many years later  my brother and I walked as adults up the run from Gomer Road to where it flowed under the bridge on Lehman Road.  We were amazed to see much more life in the run than our memories told us to expect.  Our father gardened organically and the few farmers whose water drained into the run had also begun to farm organically.  As a result, life thrived in the run’s water.


This is  the Potomac River watershed. Even my 90 yr. old eyes can see Chambersburg to the far north in the watershed and can identify the Conococheage Creek as it flows south to the west of Hagerstown, MD and into the Potomac.  Each tributary has its watershed.











  • Organizations in many watersheds form alliances to protect the water in their rivers and lakes.  The studious and the time-rich my study the watershed management plan for the Elkhart River Watershed. It identifies 26 critical areas and sets goals.  That is good.  The Christian Watershed Movement does more:
  • It cares for the poor of the watershed,
  • exercises love for all neighbors,
  • gives in risky generosity,
  • pays attention to welfare of all growing beings:  trees, plants, moss, birds, frogs, etc., not only water
  • prefers to eat food raised within the watershed
  • is content with daily bread.
  • and learns from the environment as their rabbi and teacher.

Wynward believes that Christian Watershed  communities are like leaven with the potential of permeating and saving the whole earth, watershed by watershed.  Might we encounter Jesus in such communities?

If you consider this idea worth sharing, forward to a friend

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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1 Response to Encountering Jesus Watershed by Watershed

  1. Marilyn Slabach says:

    Very interesting. You do such important work, Martin. Our congregation is always an accumulation of people from many denominations and beliefs since its beginning in Nov 1996. There are constantly opportunities for learning and growing spiritually, often emerging from within the congregation. The Eucharist is a part of every worship service. Our Wednesday group recently had intense discussion about the role of church in 2014. Why people do or do not attend church. I will be bringing this watershed info to the group. David (Community Edibles, authentically grown garden on church property) will be in Costa Rica next week to learn more about gardening in the tropics. Pastor Roy is in Kenya this week. http://www.facebook.com/panuaorg

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