Water from the Sanctuary

Reading: Ezekiel 46-48, Revelation 1

Tedious. That’s what the journey seemed like until I got to Ezekiel 47. I have a colour-coded Bible that I use for my quiet time. The colours were all brown until I got to Ezekiel 47:9-12. Blue appeared, as blue as the water described in its verses.

The description is of the restored city, shown to Ezekiel in a vision from God. In this particular chapter, the temple is the focus. As the chapter begins, Ezekiel sees a river of water flowing out from the temple.

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. Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Great Sea. But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fall. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

This passage closely parallels the description of the Holy City of God in Revelation 22. It’s a glimpse into the future, but it is also the goal of the present. I sat back in my chair, overwhelmed.

In Revelation 1, John describes the vision he was given of the Lord, a vision that sent him to his knees just as it has done for Isaiah (Isaiah 6). Among the incredible things that John experienced was this: “…his voice was like the sound of rushing waters” (Revelation 1:15b, NIV).

Immediately my mind went back to the very first chapter of Scripture that I remember memorizing as a child. Psalm 1:3 (NIV) describes the man who walks obediently with the Lord this way: “He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit I season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”

What do I want most in life? Filling in that blank isn’t hard. I have lots of things I’d like to do, much I’d like to accomplish. But of all those things, this is at the top of the list: I’d like to know, as fully as it is possible to know, the reality of that “water from the sanctuary” flowing to me.

To hear that voice, to feel the constant rushing of those life-giving words filling my heart and mind, sweeping away the debris that collects in the stagnant pools of my life; that is life’s greatest ambition.

Fruitfulness flows out of that encounter. The living water can’t be hoarded. But though the fruitfulness is the result, it is the source of that fruitfulness that is the object. It’s Him, His voice, His Words, His living water, that is the object. He is the cake; the rest is the icing.

It’s all I want. How about you?


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