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Out of your depth (25-08-22)

A Bible Reading: Ezekiel 47. 1, 3 – 6, 9, 12 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[a] 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?”

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.”

A Thought We recently spent a week in Suffolk with the family. We were blessed by being on a campsite close to the beach accessed by a set of wooden steps down the cliff. The beach itself was gently sloping with a mix of pebbles and patches of sand. The grandchildren thoroughly enjoyed paddling along the edge in ankle deep water, occasionally ending up knee deep when they failed to spot a larger incoming wave.

At the water’s edge where the waves were breaking, the beach continued flat for a few metres and then suddenly fell away more steeply. This meant that it was not difficult to get out of your depth close to the shoreline. Great for the serious swimmer, but somewhat unnerving for the less confident. Personally I like the idea of swimming in deep water, but I do like the security of being able to touch the bottom!

Ezekiel gives us a graphic picture of finding himself out of his depth. As Ezekiel moves away from the temple, each measure takes him into deeper water – ankle deep, knee deep, waist deep, until eventually he has to swim. The river flowing from the temple symbolizes life from God and the blessings that flow from his throne, which we can access through spending time in God’s presence. This river is teeming with life, full of fish for food. Along both banks, fruit trees of all kinds grow. Their fruit serves for food and their leaves for the healing of the nations.

Getting out of our depth with God might be a scary prospect, but it is also the source of sustenance, restoration, healing and blessing. God’s power can transform us no matter how lifeless we may feel. The real question is simply how deep will we venture? Ankle deep? Knee deep? Waist deep? Or completely out of our depth?

A Prayer Heavenly Father, lead us deeper into your presence day by day that we might be fed and healed through your grace. Amen.

All who are thirsty, Brenton Brown and Glenn Robertson

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