Ezekiel’s River (09-10-21)
Bible Readings: Ezekiel 47:1,3-6,9,12; John 7:37-38
The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east.
As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits
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? 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. 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 fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."
Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them."
We have recently been on holiday along the Dorset coast where we were surprised by the differences in the shoreline of beaches only a few miles apart. Charmouth has a couple of sandy beaches which slope very gently into the sea. If you want to swim there, you have to walk a long way to get out of your depth. Bridport, on the other hand, has a lovely harbour with beaches that are very pebbly and shelve very steeply. Go swimming there and you are out of your depth within a few paces; paddling is almost impossible.
Ezekiel’s vision of a river flowing out from the Temple is a vision of God's Holy Spirit flowing out to bring life to the nations around about. It was a vision that God would fulfil at Pentecost when the Christian believers in the Early Church were filled with the Holy Spirit and went out to take the gospel of Jesus far and wide.
In Ezekiel’s vision he was led into the river at three different places, firstly when he was only ankle deep, secondly when he was waist deep and then finally when he was out of his depth and had to swim. Notice that in the deep water there was abundant life and fruitfulness.
Just as we all have different responses to the sea, with some paddling along the shore, some wading out deeper and others swimming well out of their depth, so too we can all have different responses to God's Holy Spirit.
Where are you in your experience of God's Holy Spirit? Are you keeping at a safe distance, just dabbling around the edges, are you slowly venturing out a little deeper or are you confidently swimming, out of your depth, but trusting in God to keep you afloat and to make your life fruitful?
Lord Jesus, give me the confidence to step out of the shallows and to swim in the deeper waters of your Holy Spirit, so that my life might be fruitful for you.
Down the mountain the river flows