The Life-Giving River
Open Your Bible
Ezekiel 46:16-24, Ezekiel 47:1-23, Psalm 45:4-5, John 4:13-14, Revelation 22:1-3
During Lent, many of us choose to fast to let the absence of something remind us to worship and focus on God. Perhaps we decide to give up television, coffee, shopping sprees, or processed sugar in hopes of gaining a better understanding of what it looks like not to feed our every appetite with twenty-first-century comforts.
Often when my soul is needy, I don’t trust in God to meet my needs because I can take a five-minute drive to Target, where my “needs” are met with Starbucks and the dollar section. But during Lent, we are reminded just how needy our souls really are. Those little pick-me-ups don’t satisfy the deep emptiness we may feel. It only masks our real desire for true deliverance from the sin that leaves us hollow and dry.
So, as the people wrestled with the fallout of their sin, Ezekiel is shown a glimpse of what the coming deliverance will look like: a river flowing from the temple of God and “there will be life everywhere the river goes” (Ezekiel 47:9). All vegetation along the bank will thrive. When people come to fish for food, their nets will always return to them full. There will be trees that will never fail to bear fruit from their branches (vv.10–12).
But there is a reason to pause at Ezekiel 47:11, a warning of sorts. There will be swamps and marshes that won’t become healed by the river of life. This could represent people who do not receive the life-giving water of God. Those who seek life outside of God will come to the marshes to be refreshed only to find their water full of salt, further dehydrating their soul.
All of us are thirsty for life. Not the culture’s depiction of life, but abundant life which only comes from experiencing God’s restoration of our weary souls. As Jesus explained: “Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life” (John 4:13–14). Jesus is the life-giving water we really desire. When we live from His abundant mercy and grace, our souls will be refreshed.
What good news for us all! And there is still more good news to come.
In Revelation 22:1–3, John is given a vision of the new Eden where a river will flow through the city and bring life and healing to all who draw near to it. There will be a future day when we will find our needs fulfilled for eternity.
So today, during this Lenten season, let us come to Jesus and be refreshed. And when the days feel extra difficult, may we remember the river of life we draw from—the river that is deep; deep enough to satisfy our souls for eternity.