7When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. 8Then 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. 9And 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. 10It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many.
Yesterday we looked at 2 Chron. 7:14. In that verse the responsibility for unlocking healing for our land is placed on the people of God. If we do what we should do God gives us a promise. That promise is healing for our land. What is our land? It could be interpreted as our nation, however I think we can also think of it as the area where we live. It is the place where we have influence. My land needs to be healed and it is my responsibility to open the channel for God to provide it.
What is the force that will produce this healing. In the above verse the prophet Ezekiel is describing something God has shown him in vision. At this point he is in captivity with the people of God. It seems that this can never come to pass. Indeed he will never see it, but God promises that something is going to happen to Ezekiel’s land. In the vision we see something very interesting. There are waters flowing from the temple of God. The effect of these waters is the healing of the land of Israel.
The picture here is powerful. In my minds eye I can almost see it happening. The land is dead and dry. There is a sea that is so full of salt it cannot support life of any kind. In reality he is describing the dead sea. As the water from the temple flows to the land life springs forth. Wherever the water from the temple touches life is produced.
In verses12 we read about plants growing all along the banks of the river. These plants are unique in that they produce fruit the year round. There is never a time when you would go to these trees and they would be barren. The reason for this is the life in the river itself. These plants not only are alive but they transmit life. Their fruit is for food. It provides life to all who eat of it. The leaves have healing properties. This is available to everyone at all times.
When the waters of the river touch the dead sea, it also is healed and comes alive. Where there were no fish, suddenly there are all kinds of fish. Fishermen come to this place to catch many fish. It is like the richness of the great sea, the Mediterranean. Life from death. Healing for a land that is sick.
An interesting side note. Jesus likened fish to men. In our sick land it often seems impossible to fulfill the commission of Jesus to catch men. In this “healed” sea, however, where there once were no fish to catch, now they are caught all the time. I believe this same healing force is what we need in order to reach the world for the Lord.
What is it that made up the river in the vision. This river flowed out of the temple. What force lit the inside of the Temple of God? There was no natural light, yet there was a glow in the temple that provided light. What was that “glow”, that glory? It was the presence of God. What was it that was flowing from the temple to the sick world. It as the a river of God’s presence. That is what our world needs. That is what we must bring to it.
Many churches today have turned to other methods to bring the Gospel to the world. They think that marketing or programs will bring life to the world. They preach a seeker friendly church that will not make anyone uncomfortable. The idea is that if we get them to the church we can do something with them there. The truth is if there is nothing in the church, getting them there won’t help. We may make them better people, but we will not give them life. The only real solution is the presence of God. His presence will make sinners uncomfortable, but that is the only way they will turn from their sin to the life they need.
God is everywhere present, however this is not just the fact that He is here we are talking about. In this context it is the manifest presence of God that brings healing. We need a manifestation of the presence of God. The presence of God in such a way that the world begins to experience it. They may not know exactly what it is, but they will know it is something more than what they can understand. It will produce healing and the sense of fulfillment that nothing else can bring. It will affect the world in an undeniable way.
Does this sound a little extreme? Do you remember Acts 2:17?
17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.
At the birth of the church God describes the same thing. Here we read that God is going to pour out His spirit, His presence, in such a way that it will affect flesh. In the succeeding verses He speaks of signs and wonders. This has always been God’s way to bring healing to the world. It was how Jesus did it in His earth walk and it is how He intended for the church to bring healing to the world.
What is the source of this healing river? The temple of God. The question is what is that temple today. Where is it? It is not in one place anymore. It is not a building made with hands. The temple is the Church of Jesus Christ. The temple is His body. It is you and me.
If there is going to be a river of life to heal our land, we are it’s source. Tomorrow we will begin to look at what we have to do to be that river. Our world needs this healing power. Make a decision today that you are going to let that river of God’s life flow through you to a sick world.