At a party the other day, I heard a newcomer in town explain to a visitor what an arroyo is and does. An arroyo is a dry riverbed that runs a river of water, but only after a rain. “When I first came to town I was told ‘It’s just past the arroyo,’” the newcomer said, explaining how the term is used out here.

The arroyos offer a sandy river bottom in which to walk or jog. An early morning walk in an arroyo offers a wide variety of desert flowers, cacti, a few rabbits and an occasional coyote.

After the rains fill the arroyo, the traces of tracks disappear. The arroyo appears washed clean, and the sand is smoothed. It’s as though we walkers and joggers are given a chance to start over.

It reminded me of the Lord’s grace, how we are given a new chance in Him. We go afoul, and like the arroyo beds, we show the footprints of our still-sinful lives. But like the arroyo after a rain, we can be cleansed. Jesus washes away a past life of sin. And like the sand in the arroyo, we are smoothed. ‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.’ 1 John 1:9

’Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.’ 2 Cor: 5:17