… 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.
… 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. Ezekiel 47:5, 9, 12 (NIV)
The imagery used in Ezekiel is rich and full of meaning. As Ezekiel is a book of prophecy, this should cause us to think about the hidden meaning in what is being said. At one level Ezekiel is talking about a physical city and a physical river that flows from it, yet there are hints of the New Jerusalem and the water of life which flows from it.
Revelation 22:1-2 contains an equivalent prophecy and uses these words:
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
I find it encouraging that the Old and New Testament knit together so well. God is passionately interested in the ‘healing of the nations’ and has provided for it. We live in a fractured world that needs healing. Pray that God will use the good news of the gospel to bring the nations to himself.
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