The River of God

Bible Reading: Ezekiel 44; 45; 46; 47; 48 - Listen

The river that flows from the temple in Ezekiel's dream (47:1-12) is similar to the river of life that flows from the throne of God in John's dream about heaven (Rev. 22:1-2). Jesus invites us to drink of this living water: "Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life" (Rev. 22:17). "...The water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life" (John 4:14).

As Ezekiel is led into the water, it is ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, then deep enough to swim in (47:3-5). After we "test the water" and find God's word to be faithful and true, may we venture out deeper and deeper, letting God's truth influence and direct our lives until it surrounds us and carries us wherever God's spirit flows.

Follow the river's path as it flows from the temple. It flows through the Jordan Valley (Arabah) and empties into the Dead Sea, making the stagnant waters fresh (47:8). God's spirit can transform a heart that was once lifeless and corrupt, and make it clean and fresh and alive.

Wherever the river flows, it sustains "swarms of living creatures" and "large numbers of fish" (47:9) "Fishermen will stand along the shore … spreading their nets" (47:10) Wherever the spirit of God is allowed to flow freely, hearts are changed and renewed. May the joy that fills our hearts attract others to the life-giving stream, and reap a harvest of souls for eternity.

"Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing" (47:12) May we soak up God's spirit into our roots and allow his truths to penetrate our hearts, so that our lives will yield fruit that will nourish and bring healing to others.

"But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt" (47:11). If we do not allow God's spirit to flow into our lives, our hearts become stagnant and dirty. Our faith becomes dry and weak.

May we dive into the river of God and be changed and renewed by its refreshing, life-giving flow. May its healing waters "cleanse away our sins and bring wonderful times of refreshment in the presence of the Lord" (Acts 3:19 LB). May our spirits be invigorated and filled with delight as we splash in the refreshing stream (Ps. 46:4).