The LIFE-GIVING POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT: He said to me, "Son of man, have you seen this?" Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river. When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: "This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 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." (Ezek 47:6-9)
The final chapters of the book of Ezekiel describe the new land whose major feature will be a life-giving river flowing from the temple (47:1–12). Joel had mentioned this river before Ezekiel’s time (Joel 3:18), and Zechariah spoke of it after Israel returned from the Babylonian captivity (Zech. 14:8). Ezekiel saw in a vision a river flowing from the door of the temple, past the altar, through the wall south of the east Gate, and down to the Dead Sea. The waters of the sea will be healed, and fish will abound in it.
This river speaks of the healing and life-giving power of the Holy Spirit of God (see Gen. 2:8–10; John 4:13, 14; 10:10). Apostle John, too, saw the river of the water of life flowing from God’s throne (Rev. 22:1). The result of the land’s receiving this water is the same in both visions —the land is healed (compare vv. 9–12 with Rev. 22:1–3).
What we can understand from this vision is that no matter how deep we want to go into the things of God, the opportunity is there. It’s tragic that too many of us linger in the shallows when we could be enjoying the depths. This river is also a picture of the blessings that will flow out from God who dwells in His temple. Today God dwells in our bodies (1 Cor. 6:19) and therefore streams of blessing should be flowing to others around us from our lives (John 7:37-39). If we are filled with the Holy Spirit then our lives will bless others as the blessings will overflow to others. What a challenge for us to meet the conditions that will produce a blessing for others!
"There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High. God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn." (Psalms 46:4-5)