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.

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47 thoughts on "The Life-Giving River"

  1. Jennifer Anapol says:

    I have been searching for fulfillment and comfort from other people, when only God can fill that empty place in my heart. This reading came on the perfect day when I am feeling lonely and empty.

  2. Dorothy says:

    Lord thank You for the River of Eternal Life. Thank You for SENDING Your One and Only Son and for ALLOWING HIM TO DIE FOR MY SINS. I praise You for ALL the blessings You have given me no matter how small they may be. I PRAISE YOU for the Holy Spirit and for allowing the Holy Spirit to enter into my soul. Father, God, YOU AND YOU ALONE are the ONE who can change anything. Watch over my sisters and brothers in Christ. In Jesus name, amen.

    Sisters, be blessed and allow God to work through you.

  3. Miriam says:

    SEARCHING UNDERSTANDING, the website “got questions” says this about Ishmael: “The descendants of Ishmael became known as Arabs, which basically means “nomads.” From the beginning, the descendants of Ishmael were a warlike people, as “they lived in hostility toward all the tribes related to them” (Genesis 25:18). This fulfilled God’s earlier word that Ishmael would be “a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers” (Genesis 16:12).” And that there’s a possibility that some Arab Muslims are descendants of Ishmael.

  4. Paula Mullinax says:

    My comment was for Sarah D….and to finish what I was saying….many times I literally slid out of bed onto a pillow and prayed. I prayed until I had nothing left. I prayed the psalms when I felt anxious and couldn’t think of what to pray. I prayed may 6 times a day. If I went to a restaurant and I felt overwhelmed I would excuse myself and go to the bathroom and pray in the stall and I would remind God that He did not give me a spirit of fear but His spirit of power, which loves me and gives me a sound mind or some say self discipline. I would pray until it passed. I would breath slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth to stop the shaking and heart palpitations. It works. What He taught me through prayer was that as much as I needed to, come to Him. Nothing should separate us from Him. If there is a separation it is if our doing. When I came to him over and over and over, the panic/anxiety started to change. One day I noticed that they didn’t come as often and they didn’t last as long! So I kept at it. It may have been normal conversation with him by this point but what mattered was He wanted me to know that He is faithful and He is what makes life flow. One day I lifted my head and I could walk upright. I have never stopped seeking Him since that and if I feel anxious, I know it’s time to pray. I don’t have to even know what I’m anxious about, it’s just time to pray. He is amazing and He is for us. He truly wants you and I and everyone to “come to life.” Prayers for you @sarah D.

  5. Paula Mullinax says:

    My comment was for Sarah D….and to finish what I was saying….many times I literally slid out of bed onto a pillow and prayed. I prayed until I had nothing left. I prayed the psalms when I felt anxious and couldn’t think of what to pray. I prayed may 6 times a day. If I went to a restaurant and I felt overwhelmed I would excuse myself and go to the bathroom and pray in the stall and I would remind God that He did not give me a spirit of fear but His spirit of power, which loves me and gives me a sound mind or some say self discipline. I would pray until it passed. I would breath slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth to stop the shaking and heart palpitations. It works.

  6. Paula Mullinax says:

    My name is Paula. My heart hurts for you. I went through something very similar a few years ago. I want to encourage you and tell you today that it is going to be ok. What helped me may not be what helps you but I know that I am ok today. I had to ask for help. I say this because I don’t want anyone to be paralyzed by anxiety like I was. I can only share what I learned. I had to ask God what he wanted me to know. If you wake up and want to cry, then cry. I spent years thinking it was a sign of weakness. It is not that. It is cleansing. God gave you tears for a reason. Could it be that your body is on overload and you are worn out? Find a sensible doctor who loves the Lord and go through the protocol to resetting yourself. For me, it was a Christian counselor, then medicine to sleep sound, then walking 30 minutes a day whether I wanted to or not(leisurely walks/under the green trees if possible) toward afternoon to bring me down and to let the timing of Gods creation set my clock.

  7. Paula Mullinax says:

    My name is Paula. My heart hurts for you. I went through something very similar a few years ago. I want to encourage you and tell you today that it is going to be ok. The best thing to do is ask God what is he wanting you to know. If you wake up and want to cry, then cry. I spent years thinking it was a sign of weakness. It is not that. It is cleansing. God gave you tears for a reason. Could it be that your body is on overload and you are worn out? Find a sensible doctor who loves the Lord and go through the protocol to resetting yourself. For me, it was a Christian counselor, then medicine to sleep sound, then walking 30 minutes a day whether I wanted to or not(leisurely walks/under the green trees if possible) toward afternoon to bring me down and to let the timing of Gods creation set my clock.

  8. Paula Mullinax says:

    My name is Paula. My heart hurts for you. I went through something very similar a few years ago.