March 22, 2013
It is an interesting passage in Ezekiel 47:1-12. I reproduce it here from the NIV:
The man brought me back to the entrance of the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar.
He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was flowing from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.
He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Sea. When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 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.”
Notice some things about this miraculous river:
• It relates to a future millennial temple in which God’s shekinah glory again dwells.
• It starts from a trickle from the temple, but increases greatly in volume of flow the further away its course takes it.
• There are four measuring points shown to Ezekiel along the course of the river, each 1,000 cubit (approximately 1,750 feet – according to Ezekiel 40:5, the royal cubit was used in measuring the temple and river. This cubit was approximately three inches longer than the standard cubit of about 18 inches).
• At each measure, the river was deeper (by a multiplier of about three).
• The fourth measuring point was approximately 7,000 feet from the temple, about a mile and a third.
• The river produced life wherever it flowed.
• The river had no other input to add to its volume, but increased miraculously!
So it was increasingly life-giving! Ezekiel’s river truly was a miraculous river!
Now why are we looking at a river in the Old Testament? Because it relates closely to the “…rivers of living water…” (John 7:38) we examined in the last blog. Some points that relate:
• We “…are the temple of the living God…” (II Corinthians 6:16); individually “…like living stones, [we] are [together] being built into a spiritual house…” (I Peter 2:5 NIV).
• Jesus is the source of the living water (John 4:10-26).
• God dwells in us by His Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19), and by His Spirit we have the glory of God shining in our heart (II Corinthians 4:5), and so (potentially) out of our lives (Proverbs 4:23).
• The Holy Spirit (another Comforter just like Jesus – John 14:16) generates “…rivers of living water…” that are to flow out of our lives. And, as does Ezekiel’s river, that living water produces life wherever it flows.
• The flow of that water – and so it’s effect – increases as it gains distance from its source.
Let me illustrate what I mean by this last point. I have a friend whom I led to the Lord almost twelve years ago. She opened her heart to Jesus and seriously pursued her new-found faith. She is the first generation (the first measurement of the flow) of the living water that proceeds from my life. She, in turn, has affected her husband who has become a very active Christian, and her son who put his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the second generation (the second measurement of the flow). Her son married a strong Christian woman and they are bringing their two children up “…in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4). The son is recently ministering to his close friend whose mother just passed. This is the third generation (the third measurement of the flow). And on and on it goes, rivers of living water flowing more fully and powerfully the greater the distance from the source. It started with a trickle from my life, and is turning into a mighty river touching more and more lives for the Lord.
Wow! You never know what God is going to do through His obedient children! To think that my life (and yours too!) can be pictured by Ezekiel’s miraculous river!