November 12, 2020

The River
Ezekiel 47:1-12
The scene here is millennial. Its scope is monumental. Ezekiel’s closing end-time visions are focused on the awesome temple yet to grace the earth when Jesus will reign “from the river unto the ends of the earth” (Ps. 72:8). It is the river that thrills the prophet here. It flows out from the temple, and it brings life and loveliness everywhere it goes. Obviously, however, there must be more to it than that. And so there Is.
In the Bible, God the Father is likened to a fountain of living water (Jer. 2:13). God the Son is likened to a well of living water (John 4:14), and God the Holy Spirit is likened to a river of living water (John 7:37—39).
The eighth day of the Feast of Tabernacles was always a Sunday, It was kept as a special Sabbath, and it was the great, climactic conclusion of all the festivities of the year. On each of the first seven days, the priests brought vessels of water from the pool of Siloam and poured them out in a river over the steps of the temple. Jesus seized upon this activity to introduce His people to the Holy Spirit, who was soon to replace Him on earth as resident member of the Godhead.
Coming back now to the end-time river Ezekiel saw coming out of the future millennial temple, there are four things we can learn about the river of the Spirit. Note, first, the gencral direction of the river. The prophet stepped into this life-giving stream until the water was to his ankles. His walk was now controlled by the river. Where it went, he went. He followed its leading, treading a path of obedience. It was the path that Jesus trod from the virgin womb of Mary in Bethlehem to the virgin tomb of Joseph in Jerusalem. It is that path of obedience we must tread if we would know more of the Spirit of God.
We note, also, the growing dominance of the river. The prophet walked out a thousand cubits deeper into the river. The water was now to his knees, The knees remind us of submission—“Every knee should bow,” Paul says (Phil. 2:10-11)—and they remind us of supplication, for we bend our knees when we pray. Water to the knees brings us into deeper experience of the Holy Spirit. How little we know about praying in the Holy Spirit. “We know not what we should pray for as we ought,” Paul says (Rom. 8:26-27). The Holy Spirit must help our infirmities in this regard.
We note, next, the great dynamic of the river. Another thousand cubits into the river, and the water reaches to the loins. The full force of the river can now be felt. In Scripture the loins refers to the lower part of the back, the pivot of the whole body. The loins also refers to the seat of generative power, the seat of life. To have one’s “loins girt” in the Bible means to be ready for vigorous effort. Water to the loins takes us to an even deeper knowledge of the Holy Spirit as the one who provides power for service and for bringing people to the new birth,
Finally, we note the glorious design of the river. Another thousand cubits into the river and the prophet is in deep water—“waters to swim in.” When we swim we surrender ourselves wholly to the water. Our feet no longer cleave to the earth. Our whole body is at the disposal of the flowing stream. Moreover, when a person is swimming, all that can be seen is the person’s head. That is the glorious design of the Holy Spirit—that we should be so submerged in His will that all that can be seen is Jesus, our Head. We are thus borne along by the Spirit, buoyed up by the Spirit, and blessed by the Spirit of God. The result will be cleansing and fruitfulness everywhere.

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