Summary: In Ezekiel 47, The prophet receives a vision of the River flowing from the Temple and he is invited to cross the River at various crossing. What does each crossing signify.

Ezekiel 47: 1-12

I love this passage of Scripture, not least because in Ezekiel’s time there was no river in the City of Jerusalem and so it would be impossible for a river to flow from the Temple.

You may well say to me, not so.

And I will concede that in 2011, while Jerusalem was in the process of getting a new railway line from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, geologists found large underground river.

But my point is that this underground river wasn’t known in Ezekiel’s day.

In fact, Jerusalem was well known for having water shortage issues.

Which is why King Hezekiah built an aqueduct from springs outside Jerusalem to pipe water into the city.

In Ezekiel’s time, the underground river in Jerusalem was unknown

So clearly this vision cannot have a literal meaning.

But I would suggest to you that it has a clear plain meaning.

It asks the question:

What is your commitment to the living God?

To answer that question, I want to consider

1. First what does the RIVER signify and then

2. And then what is the significance of the various Crossings

a) ankle deep

b) knee deep and waist deep and finally

c) too deep

But first I would like to consider that The RIVER represents

I believe that the RIVER symbolises the HOLY SPIRIT.

Let us look in a parallel passage in Revelation 22:1-5

22 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 2 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.

3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.

4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.

5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light.

And they will reign for ever and ever.

Here we see the river again this time flowing from the throne of God the Father and from Jesus the Lamb.

And we can see the function of the River in both the passage from Ezekiel 47 and from the passage from Revelation is to bring life.

And for me Jesus in John 7:37-39 identifies the River as being the Holy Spirit.

This is what Jesus said:

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.

"He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, 'From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'"

But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

So having identified the River that emanates from the Temple in Ezekiel, let’s look at the levels of commitment that the vision of Ez 47 reveals that we can have

1. Firstly let us look at the first level of commitment, which is signified when the prophet walked across the river ankle deep.

Let me just read again in Ezekiel 47 v. 3

3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.

When we first come to the Lord, often there is not a tremendous change in lifestyle.

Or we can have a euphoric commitment to Christ that grows cold

Story: When Maddy and I were running a refugee Church in Basle, we saw this happen again and again with many African brothers.

They would come to Basle as refugees in Switzerland and make a commitment to follow Christ .

At first when they had nothing, they would regularly come to Church. While they had no job, they were keen to come even to the Wednesday Bible Studies.

But once they got a job and they had some money, their interest for the things of the Lord waned.

But there were others who still came to Church when they had a job.


Because Church had become important to their spiritual growth.

And they never complained about my sermons being too long.

Yet I have been in churches in the UK where I have been asked only to preach for ONLY 10 minutes because I was told people have to get home so they can have their Sunday lunch by 12 noon.

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