Summary: In our spiritual lives, Jesus invites us to hear the flow of cleansing, life giving water in our souls. We are His river and His Tree of Life for this world.
1. and he showed me a river of water of life, clear like crystal, pouring out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.
2. In the middle of the its street, and of the river, on this side & on that, a Tree of Life, making twelve fruits for each month, each giving for its fruit, and the leaves of the Tree were for the healing of the nations.
v. 1-2 the river pouring out from the throne of God looks like the river of the Garden of Eden, but with considerable nuance. The river in Eden watered the garden, then it formed the heads of four rivers (for an interesting & brief study of this see https://www.chabad.org/parshah/article_cdo/aid/3082157/jewish/Where-Are-the-Four-Rivers-that-Come-from-Eden.htm ). This river in the New Jerusalem is associated with a street and a tree. Its difficult to tell if the street is under the river, which would be cool because the street is made of transparent gold, or more like the Seine in Paris, with major roads and walkways on either bank. I’m thinking more like the latter. And, along with the street and the river is an integrated tree. The tree seems to be one tree that sprouts from both sides of the river-think a Banyan tree, or the Pando Aspen (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree)), with a single tree covering acres. It should be full of life year round (Psalm 1). And the tree of life seems to be arranged quite systematically, with its representative sprouts on either side of the river, and with fruit changing each month, and with medicinal properties in the leaves. So, the image is a river, flanked by a row of gloriously beautiful trees, each blossoming and bearing fruit every month, and by a street made of purest transparent gold, all enlightened by the glory of God-sounds like a nice place to visit, but I’d really want to live there.
Have You Been to the River?
Why do all major civilizations grow around natural flowing sources of water? The Nile delta for Egypt, the ocean borders many of the major cities of the world-Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Chennai, Mumbai, London. Water is the best drink for quenching the body’s thirst and lubricating its metabolic functions. With it we clean our things, cool our power plants, generate electricity and wash the germs and grime from our bodies. We are 70% water. Water is a spring of life. It is also beautiful. I love the sound of a waterfall. The sound of a river, or of the waves of the ocean, also, are beautiful. But the sound in no way overwhelms the stunning sublime glory of the view of a great body of water. In the New Jerusalem we’ll hear that sound and see that sight all the time.
Have You Been the River?
In our spiritual lives, Jesus invites us to hear the flow of cleansing, life giving water in our souls. Jesus said He had the Water of Life (John 4), and that those who believed in Him would have torrents of Living Water flowing out from them (John 7). God is our source of spiritual life, vitality, and fruitfulness (John 15). We, in turn, are to be the source of His life to everyone we meet. As the river flows through the center of the City of God, as the Tree of Life bears fruit for nourishment and leaves for healing for the nations, we are His source for this world. We are His river and His Tree of Life for this world.
Prayer for Today
Father, abide in us, as we abide in You.
Pour Your Spirit out on us
Pour Your Spirit into us
Pour Your Spirit through us to others
May Your love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control become the fruit of our lives, and may all the world be nourished thereby.
Give others a taste of heaven in us,
As we abide in You.
In the name of our Lord Jesus, the Christ