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Ezekiel 47:1-12 (NIV)
The River From the Temple
47 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.3 As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. 4 He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. 5 He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. 6 He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”
Isaiah 35:1, 6-7 give us rich images of how God will water the most dry and desolate places and make them bloom. This image is found in many descriptions of heaven. Today we read the prophet Ezekiel’s description of this. God showed him the future temple of heaven, which is a source of abundant water. This water is so potent it will actually make the super-salty Dead Sea fresh and full of fish (v. 8-9)! The waters from the temple will nourish the trees which bring healing (v. 12, compare to Revelation 22:1-2). These images are meant to remind us of Holy Baptism, which is the ultimate water of life. In Baptism, we become temples of the Holy Spirit so that, as Jesus teaches in John 7:38-39, living water comes out of us, bringing life to others. Pray that the living water of Baptism would be renewed in you, that the fruits of the Spirit would freely flow from you.