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Water's EdgeWater's Edge
Robert Whitlow
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Sometimes the smallest towns hold the biggest secrets.

Ambitious young attorney Tom Crane is about to become a partner in a big-city law firm. One final matter has to be cleared from his docket--the closing of his deceased father's law practice in the small town of Bethel. Killed in a tragic boating accident, John Crane didn't leave his son anything except the hassle of a bankrupt estate.

Then, within twenty-four hours, Tom loses his job, his girlfriend, and his cat. Job didn't have it much worse.

Returning to Bethel with his pride ground to powder, Tom's plan to quietly shut down his father's practice and slink out of town runs into an unexpected roadblock - two million dollars of unclaimed money stashed in a secret bank account. Tom follows the money into a tangled web of lies, theft, and off-shore financial transactions manipulated by powerful men who will do anything to stop him from discovering the truth.


 Water's Edge Discussion Questions: Robert Whitlow


1. After Tom loses his job and his girlfriend at the beginning of the book, Elias responds to Tom with, “God is good.” What did you think of Tom’s response? Have you ever experienced a huge, unexpected change in your life, and someone spoke similar words to you? How did that make you feel? Encouraged? Angry? Confused?



2. Though for years Tom held himself back from truly grieving his mother’s death, upon returning home, he is overcome with emotion while visiting Austin’s Pond. Why do you think Tom held those tears back for so long? How did his mother’s death forever affect Tom and his father’s relationship? Have you ever stored up grieving and then had it triggered by an unrelated incident?



3. Why do you think Elias wanted Tom to read the Bible story of Balaam and his donkey?



4. Elias points out that Tom’s first name is Joshua, which means “God rescues” or “Jehovah is salvation.” How does the meaning of Tom’s name enter into his story?



5. Many people in Bethel urge Tom to stay and continue his father’s work. What do you think Tom believes about the kind of man his father was? About the kind of attorney he was? Do you think he considers himself a chip off the old block?



6. Elias is a man of prayer and intercession. Have you ever known someone who was a prayer warrior? How has his or her intercession affected your life and the lives of others?



7. Psalm 78:72 says, “So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, and guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.” Why do you think this was one of John Crane’s favorite verses? How did reading this verse open Tom’s eyes and heart?



8. Rose is convinced that there are “thin places” in this world—physical places where one can better hear from God. Do you believe in thin places? Have you ever experienced a thin place?



9. Do you agree with Elias that Christians can sometimes have “divided hearts”—that they can know the love of God, yet still live with dark secrets and deceptions? Elias says that “people are like houses. Most of the rooms may be filled with light, but there can still be a dark corner.” Which characters fit this description? Have you experienced this duality in your own heart? Do we sometimes compartmentalize our lives so that we can legitimize our vices?



10. Have you, like Tom, ever felt that you were caught in a situation where you weren’t sure who, if anyone, you could trust? What did you do? Where did you turn?



11. After his arrest, Tom’s world crashes down on him, and he feels that he has nowhere to turn. He doesn’t trust that God can resolve his situation, and he is ready to take his own life. How can desperation skew our perceptions of our situations? How does God step in and assure Tom that he is present and in control?



12. What do you think about the verse John Crane wrote down after his wife’s death: “The righteous perish, and no one ponders it in his heart; devout men are taken away, and no one understands that the righteous are taken away to be spared from evil. Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death” (Isaiah 57:1–2). Have you lost someone important in your world? How does this verse affect the way you feel about his or her passing?



13. At his baptism Tom looks around at his friends and supporters and says, “I’m learning that God placed me in this world, not so other people can serve me, but so I can serve them. Only when we focus our attention on others can we become who we’re intended to be ourselves.” What value do you place on community? Do you serve, and allow yourself to be served by, others who care about you?



14. In the Epilogue, Tom claims the verse Jeremiah 6:16: “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” How does the wisdom of this verse affect Tom’s decisions about moving forward with his life? Are you at a crossroads in your life? How does this verse speak to you?




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Discussion Question Index


 • Abigail: Jill Eileen Smith
 • Abigail's New Hope: Mary Ellis
 • Against All Odds: Irene Hannon
 • Against the Tide: Elizabeth Camden
 • Almost Forever: Deborah Raney


 • Blue Moon Promise: Colleen Coble
 • Blue Widow Brides: Maggie Brendan
 • Breach of Trust: DiAnn Mills
 • (The) Bridesmaid: Beverly Lewis
 • (The) Bridge: Karen Kingsbury
 • Brigid of Ireland: Cindy Thomson
 • Burn: Ted Dekker


 • (The) Calling: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • (The) Chance: Karen Kingsbury
 • Chasing Mona Lisa: Tricia Goyer & Mike Yorkey
 • Chasing the Sun: Tracie Peterson
 • Choices of the Heart: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate: Diana Wallis Taylor
 • Critical Care: Candace Calvert
 • Crossing Oceans: Gina Holmes


 • (The) Dance: Dan Walsh and Gary Smalley
 • Deadline: Randy Alcorn
 • Deadly Devotion: Sandra Orchard
 • Deadly Ties: Vicki Hinze
 • Deception: Randy Alcorn
 • (The) Dilemma of Charlotte Farrow: Olivia Newport
 • (The) Discovery: Dan Walsh
 •  Dolled Up to Die: Lorena McCourtney
 • Demon: A Memoir: Tosca Lee
 • Digitalis: Ronie Kendig
 • Dogwood: Chris Fabry
 • Double Minds: Terri Blackstock
 • Dying to Read: Lorena McCourtney


 • Fair Is the Rose: Liz Curtis Higgs
 • Freefall: Kristen Heitzmann
 • Frontiersman's Daughter: Laura Frantz


 • Gift of Grace: Amy Clipston
 • Gone South: Meg Mosley
 • Grace: Shelley Shepard Gray


 • Havah; The Story of Eve: Tosca Lee
 • Heart's Safe Passage: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Highland Sanctuary: Jennifer Hudson Taylor
 • Hope of Refuge: Cindy Woodsmall


 • Intervention: Terri Blackstock
 • Into the Whirlwind: Elizabeth Camden
 • Invisible: Ginny Yttrup
 • Iscariot: Tosca Lee


 • (The) Jewel of His Heart: Maggie Brendan
 • June Bug: Chris Fabry


 • Katie's Way: Marta Perry
 • Killer Among Us: Lynette Eason


 • Lady in the Mist: Laurie Alice Eakes
 • Lady of Bolton Hill: Elizabeth Camden
 • Lady of Milkweed Manor: Julie Klassen
 • (A) Lasting Impression: Tamera Alexander
 • Leah's Choice: Marta Perry
 • The Lesson: Suzanne Woods Fisher
 • Lethal Remedy: Richard Mabry
 • Life in Defiance: MaryLu Tyndall
 • Like Dandelion Dust: Karen Kingsbury
 • Lonestar Sanctuary: Colleen Coble
 • Lonestar Secrets: Colleen Coble
 • Love Amid the Ashes: Mesu Andrews
 • Love at Any Cost: By Julie Lessman
 • Love Calls: Lorna Sielstad
 • Love in a Broken Vessel: Mesu Andrews


 • Making Waves: Lorna Sielstad
 • (A) Memory Between Us: Sarah Sundin
 • Moon in the Mango Tree: Pamela Ewen
 • Moonlight Masquerade: Ruth Axtell
 • (A) Most Peculiar Circumstance: Jen Turano
 • My Heart Remembers: Kim Vogel Sawyer


 • Naomi's Gift: Amy Clipston
 • Never Far From Home: Mary Ellis
 • Nightshade: by Ronie Kendig
 • No Place for a Lady: Maggie Brendan
 • (A) Noble Groom: Jody Hedlund



 • Paper Roses, by Amanda Cabot
 • Plain Jayne, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 • Preacher's Bride: Jody Hedlund
 • Promise of an Angel: Ruth Reid


 • Rebekah: by Jill Eileen Smith
 • Redeeming Love: Francine Rivers
 • Redemption: Karen Kingsbury & Gary Smalley
 • (A) Reluctant Queen: Joan Wolf
 • Remember to Forget: Deborah Raney
 • Remembered: Tamera Alexander


 • Sarah's Gift: Marta Perry
 • Shadows of the Past: Patricia Bradley
 • Simple Choices: Nancy Mehl
 • Simple Deceit: Nancy Mehl
 • Slow Moon Rising: Eva Marie Everson
 • Someone to Blame: Susanne Lakin
 • A Sound Among the Trees: Susan Meissner
 • The Sweetest Thing: Elizabeth Musser


 • Tailor Made Bride: Karen Witemeyer
 • That Certain Summer: Irene Hannon