By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion. We hung our harps upon the willows in the midst of it … How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a foreign land?Psalm 137:1-4 NKJV
Bedřich Smetana became a champion of his people. Born on this day in 1824 in what today is the Czech Republic, he thought of becoming a pianist but eventually turned to composition. These efforts came with a price. He frequently struggled financially and experienced tragedy with the death of his wife. Nonetheless, he continued to compose, certain this was his calling.
He experienced a milestone in 1879 while writing his masterpiece “My Country.” Particularly memorable was the section depicting the Moldau, a river beloved by his people.
Similar stories are echoed by people throughout the world, who are stirred by native folk songs in many ways. Special stories and traditions surround important and memorable rivers and mountains all around the world.
We see the impact of treasured memories in the response of Israelites who had been taken into captivity in Babylon. They just couldn’t sing happy songs while trapped in a foreign land. They wept as they remembered Zion, filled with emotional memories about their home.
For them, Jerusalem was more than a city. It symbolized their relationship with God as well as His presence.
Are there places with special attachments for you? Do you get emotional thinking about people who have impacted you? Do you respond with fondness thinking about the moments when you had a particularly precious encounter with God or when you had a spiritual breakthrough?
Treasure these moments and memories.