The river of life
And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life…The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
Revelation 22:1-2 (NKJV)
There are many mighty rivers on our planet: the Nile, Amazon, Mississippi, Danube, Ganges, and the Yangtze, to name just a few. There are small and major rivers all over the world; some of the larger rivers wind and twist and carve their way, meandering thousands of miles to meet the seas and oceans. They support millions of human lives. You will find the Nile, Euphrates and Jordan rivers are well documented in the Bible because of their significance, and there are many Old Testament scriptures speaking of rivers and water that signify abundance and God’s blessings.
Jesus likened the Holy Spirit to ‘rivers of living waters’ in John 7:37-39: ‘…saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive…’ In Jesus, there is a power of life that flows to and then through the believer, like a refreshing stream that is a blessing not only to the believer but to others also.
Speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus offered this ‘living water’ to the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:14: “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” In this conversation with the Samaritan woman about the ‘living water’ Jesus goes much further than the Holy Spirit’s blessings in this life and speaks of the nature of salvation and eternal life.
In Ephesians we read that the Holy Spirit: the ‘living water’ given by Jesus to believers, is the ‘guarantee of our inheritance’: ‘In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.’ (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Metaphorically, ‘living waters’ refer to the Holy Spirit, whom God has poured out upon His people, and who is as vital to us spiritually as water is to our physical life. Through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit we can now experience the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. And through him, the Holy Spirit, we are graciously given ‘the guarantee’ of our eternal inheritance.
Holy Father, thank You for giving us the Holy Spirit by whom we cry out to You, Abba Father, a very endearing term, and come to know You intimately. In reverential awe I stand before Your throne of grace and pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Study by Natu Moti
About the writer:
Natu Moti is a Deacon in the Birmingham congregation of Grace Communion International.
All Saints Church
Birmingham B23 7QB
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