1Then the man brought me back to the entrance of the Temple. There I saw a stream flowing eastward from beneath the Temple threshold. This stream then passed to the right of the altar on its south side. 2The man brought me outside the wall through the north gateway and led me around to the eastern entrance. There I could see the stream flowing out through the south side of the east gateway. 3Measuring as he went, he led me along the stream for 1,750 feet and told me to go across. At that point the water was up to my ankles. 4He measured off another 1,750 feet and told me to go across again. This time the water was up to my knees. After another 1,750 feet, it was up to my waist. 5Then he measured another 1,750 feet, and the river was too deep to cross without swimming.

6He told me to keep in mind what I had seen; then he led me back along the riverbank. 7Suddenly, to my surprise, many trees were now growing on both sides of the river! 8Then he said to me, “This river flows east through the desert into the Jordan Valley, where it enters the Dead Sea. The waters of this stream will heal the salty waters of the Dead Sea and make them fresh and pure. 9Everything that touches the water of this river will live. Fish will abound in the Dead Sea, for its waters will be healed. Wherever this water flows, everything will live. 10Fishermen will stand along the shores of the Dead Sea, fishing all the way from En-gedi to En-eglaim. The shores will be covered with nets drying in the sun. Fish of every kind will fill the Dead Sea, just as they fill the Mediterranean! 11But the marshes and swamps will not be purified; they will be sources of salt. 12All kinds of fruit trees will grow along both sides of the river. The leaves of these trees will never turn brown and fall, and there will always be fruit on their branches. There will be a new crop every month, without fail! For they are watered by the river flowing from the Temple. The fruit will be for food and the leaves for healing.”
Ezekiel 47:1-12 (New Living Translation)

My mom is afraid of water. Almost drowning as a child has left her with a life-long fear of bodies of water. She won’t even jump (or step) into a pool. She’s always game for a good water fight, though!

I thought of mom as I read this passage today. I think many of us are as afraid of God as mom is afraid of water. We’re happy to experience Him as a sprinkling (or even dousing) that might come from a good water fight, but we’re reluctant or even fearful of stepping into the river that flows from His temple.

As we read this passage, we learn that Ezekiel was taken into the river by degrees – first into ankle-deep water, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, then to the place where it was over his head. I appreciate that God doesn’t just drop us into water over our head – even if the water is the River of Life that flows from His temple. Most of us (me included) would be too afraid to jump into the full, raging river without first stepping in at the river’s edge. I am thankful that God allows us to get to know Him and His goodness and His faithfulness before He takes us into the river that is so high it cannot be crossed on foot.

Getting to know God is a lifelong process, though, and many of us get stuck at some point when He wants to take us deeper. May I encourage you to continue walking into the water and let God’s current take you to the dead places and bring His healing to them. That’s what happens – the river flows from the temple of God (that is, the place where He dwells – from His presence) (v1) to the dead places (v8a) and brings life where death has been (v8b-10).

During my ordination service last week, one of our pastors had an image as I was being prayed over. Our senior pastor was praying that God would not only release me into ministry, but to propel me into it. The image that came to our assistant pastor was of me on a huge water slide with the gate about to be opened for me to plunge full speed from the top of the slide. I don’t think he knows that I absolutely love water slides. I become like a little child (Matthew 18:3) on water slides, giggling and screaming with joy all the way from the top to the bottom.

What a way to envision serving God – as flowing in the current of the River of Life that goes from His presence to places that are dead – because “everything that touches the water of this river will live” (v9). It’s what you and I are called to – bringing life where there once was death.

Lord, increase our vision and help us be willing to jump into the water that is over our heads so that we might flow in its current, bringing life to all who come in contact with it. Lord, we want to be conduits of Your life to those who are dying.

P.S. Another friend had a different vision – she saw me as a human cannonball about to be shot out of a cannon. I’ve told her and God “no offense, but I prefer the water slide!”

Comments are closed.

© copyright 2009-2013, Data Designs Publishing and Sandra J. Hovatter