19 September 2019
The River of Life
Reading: Ezekiel 47-48; Luke 2
9 Wherever the river flows, life will flourish—great schools of fish—because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. 10 Fishermen will stand shoulder to shoulder along the shore from En-gedi all the way north to En-eglaim, casting their nets. The sea will teem with fish of all kinds, like the fish of the Great Mediterranean. (Ezekiel 47:9-10 MSG)
There’s a lot I don’t understand in Ezekiel’s vision. I don’t understand why there is so much detailed measurement of buildings and courtyards and division of the land among the tribes. One thing I do understand is that where God is, life is!
In John’s vision of the Holy City, described in Revelation 22:1-5, he also saw a river of life flowing out of God’s throne. Jesus promised in John 7:37-38 that rivers of living water will flow from innermost being of anyone who believes in him...
37 On the final and climactic day of the Feast, Jesus took his stand. He cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says.” (John 7:37-38 MSG)
The New Testament pictures the church as a place where God is! Paul says the church is a place where he chooses to reside right in the middle of a world that is dead or dying. Jesus said that God’s life will flow out of the church into our community and our world, bringing that God-life to the very lowest place. Where Ezekiel’s river flowed, living trees grew and provided year-round fruit for the hungry and healing for the sick. When it hit the lowest spot, the Dead Sea, it turned what had been barren salt flats into an incredibly rich fishing area.
Life flows from where God is and that life has the power to overcome the death that is all around. When the water of life flows out of the church, needs are met, people are healed, and the fishing is great! When God’s river flows to the lowest places, New Life springs forth! Where the river flows, life abounds! Is the River of Life flowing out of you and your church to the lowest of places?
Father, I pray that the promise of Jesus will come true in me and in my fellow Christ-followers. I pray that the visions of Ezekiel and John will be fulfilled in the life of the church – the church I’m part of and in the church of everyone who reads this today. Amen.