9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes.
As a young child I played in a stream that ran behind my house. Actually, as I would later learn, it was a drainage ditch. But, when I was 5, it seems like a wonderland of rocks, trees, and strange objects that floated down to us from unknown places. My brothers and I found many fun things to do back there, but even at a very young age I knew that the water, rainbow-tinted from oil, was not life-giving. We almost never touched the water.
All streams and rivers are fed by other sources of water. They naturally grow stronger as they go when fed by new tributaries, and weaker without them. But, Ezekiel 47 pictures something mysterious, something unnatural: a single source of water (the sanctuary) feeds a river that gets deeper and stronger as it goes.
This river is capable of watering many trees, supporting wildlife, and even transforming sea water into fresh water, because of its abundance and purity. The fish that swim in this river are caught by fishermen. And, the supply of food seems unlimited, with great variety as well. And, its blessings go on. The trees planted by this river constantly give food to mankind. Even the leaves of the trees have a healing effect. The life-giving effects of this river seem to move through each recipient to the next.
The singular source, the astonishing growth, and the revitalizing effects of this river all suggest that it must be one of a kind. It is not ‘a’ river, but ‘The’ River. In John 7, Jesus says, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Jesus is The Source of all that is good. He sustains all things. But, that is not what this verse says. This verse says that we who have placed our faith in Jesus now have “rivers of living water” coming from us. Amazing!
Father, we thank you for the mystery and wonder of the Advent, the sending of your Son to give us life. We confess that we often don’t feel like the channels of life you are making us. Give us faith today to believe that you are making all things new through us. Amen.
1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple, and behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was flowing down from below the south end of the threshold of the temple, south of the altar. 2 Then he brought me out by way of the north gate and led me around on the outside to the outer gate that faces toward the east; and behold, the water was trickling out on the south side.
3 Going on eastward with a measuring line in his hand, the man measured a thousand cubits, and then led me through the water, and it was ankle-deep. 4 Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was knee-deep. Again he measured a thousand, and led me through the water, and it was waist-deep. 5 Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. 6 And he said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?”
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 As I went back, I saw on the bank of the river very many trees on the one side and on the other. 8 And he said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea; when the water flows into the sea, the water will become fresh. 9 And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. 10 Fishermen will stand beside the sea. From Engedi to Eneglaim it will be a place for the spreading of nets. Its fish will be of very many kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they are to be left for salt. 12 And on the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”