The River Of Life

The River Of Life By David Seragih

"And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes....Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine." - Ezekiel 47:9, 12
It is very interesting but have you ever stand next to a river and take a look at the surrounding environment around the river bank? I never really did until one day when I drove across a bridge over a deep river on my way to my mother-in-law's house. The children were swimming freely in the river. Further down, I saw some women washing their clothes in the river. Some men were enjoying an afternoon of fishing activity, undisturbed by the noises coming from the playful children. I noticed lots of trees, bushes, flowers and plantations along the river bank. These were green, healthy plants blooming with life. Along the river bank, there is life.
It was then, I heard this distinct voice said, "where the river flows, it brings life." Yes, indeed, I began to understand what it means when I looked at the people and activities along the river bank. We have a river within us, too. Whether this river is alive and flowing or mashes of swamps in our lives. Ezekiel 47:1-12 describes this river within us that flows from the sanctuary of God. God was showing Ezekiel the meaning and the purpose of the river.
The Source of the River
Ezekiel 47:1 tells us that the source of the river comes from the sanctuary of God. In the Old Testament, the sanctuary is a physical temple of God. But God moves Himself from a physical temple into our heart. The Bible says that our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. He is here to stay in us when we accepted Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour. The Holy Spirit is a seal of our identity as the child of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ. Now, in us, flows this river and the source of the river is the Holy Spirit. But this river must flow out of us and whether it is gushing out of us, will depend on our spiritual walk with our Father. In order for the river to gush out of us, we must make room for the Holy Spirit to fill us and lead us in our walk everyday. We can stop the Holy Spirit or we can allow the Holy Spirit to take control of us.
The Course of the River
Ezekiel was shown the river. He was also led by the angel out from the temple into the river. First, the water was up to his ankles. Then as he walked deeper into the river, the water came up to his knees. He walked further into the river, the water came up to his waist and eventually it was too deep for him to walk in the river. He has to swim. As the river flows, it does not get widen and widen. Instead, as it flows, it cuts deeper and deeper into the land. As we choose to walk with God, you will find that your life becomes stronger and deeply rooted in God and His words. It also means that you begin to trust God more and more because in the deep river, you cannot walk and touch the ground, you can only swim. When there are no more steps to stand on, we need to let go of ourselves and learn to rely on God to guide you across the river. Depth and substance are what God wants to build in us, not width and more material wealth. These are just the by-products of seeking God first. If we are not anchored in God, we will find ourselves struggling to keep alive by swimming but eventually our strength will wear out and we will drown from fatigue.
The Mashes and Swamps that Stop the River Flows
As the river flows, there will be obstacles and hindrances that prevent the river from flowing on. When the river stops to flow, it forms into lake, swamps and mashes. These dead sea is no good to anyone as the water is too salty for any use. It cannot be used for drinking. It cannot be used for providing nutrients to the growth of plants and food. It is basically useless. In our lives, we must beware of swamps and mashes that hinder our personal relationship with God. These swamps and mashes prevent the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through us to others. When these swamps and mashes are built up over time, nothing living can grow in it. When we walk away from God and refuse the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives, we are like the swamps and mashes. No life will flow from us and everything we touch does not bring life and draw others to God.
There is power in the flow of the river. The force of the river brings life. The amount of flow will depend on how much we are willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives.
There must also be life in us. If the force of a flowing river is powerful, all kinds of plants will grow alongside it and bear fruits. These fruits become food for us. The leaves become medicine for healing. When we walk with God, our lives will become fruitful as we do good works. Through our good works, it becomes food for our spiritual growth and for others to be helped and encouraged. We become "medicine" for others who needed a helping hand, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on. As we help the poor and needy, we bring healing to their souls through our kindness, love, compassion. They will see God and the goodness of God through you. But if you are a dead sea, there is no output from dead sea except lots of salt. And we know the more salt you take, the thirstier you become, and you will die from lack of water.
God has positioned us where we can become the channel for the river of life to flow through and out of us to bring life to others around us. Ask yourself whether your life is full of swamps, mashes or a dead sea. Or, is your life a flowing river or a still river? If you have not allowed the Holy Spirit to take control of your life today, will you go before God and ask Him to fill you with His Spirit to make you a living river? It is never too late to do so.
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