Summary: Essence of the Lesson: Ezekiels’ River of Life is the River of God running through Holy History and its life-giving waters grow deeper and deeper as we are invited to immerse ourselves in its refreshing!

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A River Runs Through It

Ezekiel 47:1-12

Copyright John Mark Jones 2004 All Rights Reserved

All scripture quotes: Holy Bible, New King James Version

Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side. And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?" Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river. When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me:

"This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt.

Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine."

(Eze 47:1-12)

Essence of the Lesson:

Ezekiels’ River of Life is the River of God running through Holy History and its life-giving waters grow deeper and deeper as we are invited to immerse ourselves in its refreshing!

Preliminary thoughts:

But when I am alone in the half-light of the canyon all existence seems to fade to a being with my soul, and memories. And the sounds of the Big Black Foot River, and a four count rhythm, and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.

–Norman MacLean “A River Runs Through It”

There’s something about a river, something that resonates deep within our souls.

I remember spending the day at Niagra Falls, watching the raging torrent as it proceeded towards the majestic falls. What raw power, what natural beauty, wonder and riches!

I remember my dad telling me stories of World War II where he fought in the Battle for the Rhine River and the Battle for the Bulge River in Germany. He stacked bodies of dead Americans all night long who gave their lives for control of these rivers.

I remember tubing down the Chattahoochee in Helen, and being amazed how a small creek ten inches deep could suddenly turn into white water and dump your body into an icy cold hole in the riverbed, which seemed be bottomless! As a matter of fact it may have been in that hole that I was called to preach…

By God’s design and plan, The River is a creation that brings life to all of mankind. It feeds, it floods, it rages and it calms. The River has in some way dramatically impacted every human civilization.

God chose to begin and end all of Holy History, from Genesis to Revelation, with a river.

And a river runs through it.

Tonight we find ourselves in a glorious vision, given by God some 2600 years ago in a place called Babylon, to a Hebrew prophet and priest named Ezekiel, which means “strengthened by God.” He was a contemporary of Jeremiah, and recognizes the young and already well known prophet Daniel in his writings.

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Talk about it...

Scott Brooks

commented on Sep 7, 2007

Great Sermon! A River runs through it is a an awesome theme from genesis to Rev. Awesome intro! Great intro to Ezekiel. The salt thing. Check out Ezekiel 43:24. The salt wasn't about spiritually dead or resistent people. The marshes were left so there would salt for worship. That said, I still love the intro and the theme of the river running through it. You caught my attention. Fresh stuff.

Mark Jones

commented on Aug 31, 2014

thanks for the good word. Your interpretation is interesting, but I fail to see the parallel to Ezekiel 43:24-totally different context. Gill,Henry and Barnes all agree that the salt marshes represent unrepentant sinners/the world system.

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