Ezekiel.47:9 – And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the river goes, will live.
Ezekiel’s vision is a glimpse into the recovery of our world at the end of this age. Ezekiel saw the millennial temple and the river of God flowing out to bring healing to our devastated world. When Jesus returns there will be a great need for the healing nature of His river to flow all throughout the land. In Ezekiel’s vision the Lord led Ezekiel out into the healing waters for himself. We don’t have to wait for the millennium to enjoy the healing properties of the River of God. Even now anyone who is thirsty can come and drink. This living water will flow into you and heal and restore every broken part of your life. Everything, from your mind to your emotions, your inner man to your body; everywhere this river flows there is healing and there is life. Here is how Matthew Henry described this passage.
“The healing virtue of this river. The waters of the sanctuary, wherever they come and have a free course, will be found a wonderful restorative. Being brought forth into the sea, the sulphureous lake of Sodom, that standing monument of divine vengeance, even those waters shall be healed, shall become sweet, and pleasant, and healthful. This intimates the wonderful and blessed change that the gospel would make, wheresoever it came in its power, a great change, in respect both of character and condition, as the turning of the dead sea into a fountain of gardens…..Christ, coming into the world to be its physician, sent his gospel as the great medicine, the panpharmacon; there is in it a remedy for every malady. Nay, wherever these rivers come, they make things to live, both plants and animals; they are the water of life. Christ came, that we might have life and for that end he sends his gospel. Every thing shall live whither the river comes. The grace of God makes dead sinners alive and living saints lively; everything is made fruitful and flourishing by it.”
The river restores every part of our life. Actually the river is a person, the blessed Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a healing spirit; the Holy Spirit is the spirit of life. Today, find some way to get into the river. Worship the Lord, gather with friends in prayer, find a service where the Holy Spirit is being poured out; Push out into the depths of the river and experience His healing and life.
MERRY TUESDAY BY PARRIS-
As his divine power has given to us all things which relate to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us by glory and virtue, through which he has given to us the greatest and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” I Pet.1:3
Adults are a lot like children. We live in perpetual repeat in our lives learning the same lessons over and over again since infancy. We just haven’t learned the lesson of “if you get too close to the fire it will burn you”, what we eat can definitely ruin us, or learning to drive the speed limit. As we move into adolescence, we learn painfully to pay our taxes, pay the ticket we just got and show up at work on time. For the ‘millennials’ we pray that they just SHOW UP! The stress that we accrue in the process of life becomes so debilitating that we self medicate, plunging ourselves into a deeper hole. Over and over again the cycle of life is repeated,
Christians need to change that way of life. There is another way. I call it RIVER LIFE! Christ can meet you and with a little effort your life can have a breakthrough to where you live free of this world and it’s cycle of pitfalls.
The Apostle John saw a pure river clear as crystal that was for the healing of the nations. Great cities since the beginning of time learned to live around rivers to ensure health, commerce and pleasure. We too must do the same. Learn to live on the river that flows from His Throne, His presence. On his river the healing of the nations is provided. His river purifies the unclean soul and washes out the deepest dye of our sin that has stained our garments of flesh. Malachi describes this white as no fuller on earth can whiten! Whatever you have gone through, experienced as trauma God has sent this precious river to provide the help we need. This river provides enjoyment and recreation on a daily basis that we don’t need to “go near the fires of the world that try to inflame our hearts”. The things of the earth are barren and lifeless and can hold no life source or give any lasting value to our upkeep. But whenever the river flows there is life and life abundantly. Christ himself is upholding this world by his word and he upholds us by his amazing power! All a man needs is sustainable in this river. He quenches our thirsty soul. Our natures are renewed, refreshed and reproduced over and over again. Its a supernatural life.
I pray you will find this precious river—it’s running right next to you! Jump in!
Psa. 23:1,2 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.
This is a beautiful picture of the spiritual rest the Lord gives His sons and daughters. The Amplified Bible says it like this, “He makes me lie down in [fresh, tender] green pastures; He leads me beside the still and restful waters”. That is one of the beautiful functions of the wonderful Holy Spirit, He gives us rest for our souls. This is one of the greatest of all needs in today’s crazy world. Stress seems to be the order of the day; seasons of earthquakes and national disasters, political chaos, racial contention, economic tsunamis, and incurable pandemics. Without this place of rest to run to, we can easily be overwhelmed by the troubles of this life. Have you learned the importance of following the Shepherd daily to the waters of rest? I think I would have shipwrecked long ago without learning the blessing of resting in the Spirit. Here are some thoughts from Matthew Henry of the waters of rest.
“The still waters by which he leads them yield them, not only a pleasant prospect, but many a cooling draught, many a reviving cordial, when they are thirsty and weary. God provides for his people not only food and rest, but refreshment also and pleasure. The consolations of God, the joys of the Holy Ghost, are these still waters, by which the saints are led, streams which flow from the fountain of living waters and make glad the city of our God. God leads his people, not to the standing waters which corrupt and gather filth, not to the troubled sea, nor to the rapid rolling floods, but to the silent purling waters; for the still but running waters agree best with those spirits that flow out towards God and yet do it silently.”
I can remember very clearly the first time I found myself in this semi-conscious state resting in the Holy Ghost. I was prayed for and fell under the power of the Spirit for the first time. I found myself totally caught by surprise as I was overtaken by the restful waters of joy. Resting, laughing, and overcome by love; that’s the very place the Shepherd wants to takes us. This is the beautiful place of restoration, cleansing, and empowering. Go ahead and take a break in the River, this is the place you have been looking for all of your life.
There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
Is it possible that this river that we see all throughout scripture is actually God Himself? Several years ago there was an international outpouring of the Holy Spirit that was characterized by the River. Anytime you were around Christian gatherings in the mid-nineties everyone was talking about “the River”. The question on everyone’s lips was “have you been touched by the River?” It was everywhere at the same time; the river was a living, breathing thing. Some began to see the River as an experience that would surely be temporary. It seemed that many ministers were anxious for things to “get back to normal”. That has been twenty five years ago now, I’m still not back to normal. The conclusion I came to is that the River is not an experience but a person. Ralph Erskine, a Puritan minister in Scotland in the 1600’s said this about the River.
“What is the river that makes glad the city of God? I answer, God himself is the river, as in the following verse, “God is in the midst of her.” 1. God the Father is the river: “For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jer 2:13. 2. God the Son is the river, the fountain of salvation: “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.” Zec 13:1. 3. God the Spirit is the river: “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” Jn. 7:38. What are the streams of this river? Answer—the perfections of God, the fulness of Christ, the operations of the Spirit, and these running in the channel of the covenant of promise.”
The Father is the fountain of the River which is the love of God. Everything springs from this overflowing fountain. Jesus is the very radiance or display of God’s love. In Him we see the glory of this River of love. The Holy Spirit is the very essence of God, the manifestation of the love of God. When we are immersed into the Holy Spirit we begin to experience the blessing of the River, the amazing love of God.
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you;
my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
Living near the Mississippi River gives us a constant picture of the River of God. The Apostle John saw a river flowing out from the Father and the Son, this River is eternal, in other words it just never stops. Several years ago there was an outpouring of the Spirit and the River became a term that was used for the moving of the Spirit. I will never forget when a local pastor announced that the River was over. How can this River, the one flowing out from God, ever end? The answer of course is that it can’t. The River is endless and is the very source of life; we live in and off of this River. Here is how Jonathan Edwards describes this God phenomenon.
“It is said that Christ is a river of water, because there is such a fulness in him, so plentiful a provision for the satisfaction of the needy and longing soul. When one is extremely thirsty, though it is not a small draught of water will satisfy him, yet when he comes to a river, he finds a fulness, there he may drink full draughts. Christ is like a river, in that he has a sufficiency not only for one thirsty soul, but by supplying him the fountain is not lessened; there is not the less afforded to those who come afterwards. A thirsty man does not sensibly lessen a river by quenching his thirst. Christ is like a river in another respect. A river is continually flowing, there are fresh supplies of water coming from the fountain-head continually, so that a man may live by it, and be supplied with water all his life. So Christ is an ever-flowing fountain; he is continually supplying his people, and the fountain is not spent. They who live upon Christ, may have fresh supplies from him to all eternity; they may have an increase of blessedness that is new, and new still, and which never will come to an end.”
If Jonathan Edwards is right, Christ is a River. He is enough for all of us. He is enough on the good days, and He is enough on the worst of days. He never changes, and He quenches the longing of our souls.
Rev.22:17 – The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.
The fact that humans get thirsty proves there must be something somewhere that will quench our thirst. Thirst is basic to being human and water is the basic substance that quenches that thirst. Is it possible that there is a spiritual parallel? I believe there is. The fact that our soul gets thirsty shows that there has to be something to quench our soul thirst. You may not identify the correct substance to satisfy your thirsting but our thirst for God is basic to our human condition. To those who meet Christ there is a taste of this living water but this taste is more of a tease than a completion. The times we encounter living water in this world points to something greater, a completion or fulfillment that awaits in the life to come. The world offers only substitutes, Christ offers a drink that is a foretaste of life to come. Here is how C.S. Lewis describes it.
“What would it be to taste at the fountainhead that stream of which even these lower reaches prove so intoxicating? Yet that, I believe, is what lies before us. The whole man is to drink joy from the fountain of joy. As St. Augustine said, the rapture of the saved soul will “flow over” into the glorified body. In the light of our present specialized and depraved appetites, we cannot imagine this torrens voluptatis, and I warn everyone most seriously not to try. But it must be mentioned, to drive out thoughts even more misleading—thoughts that what is saved is a mere ghost, or that the risen body lives in numb insensibility. The body was made for the Lord, and these dismal fancies are wide of the mark.”
I have to admit I have been quite surprised at the abundance and power these tastes often provide for sons and daughters in this world. I can only imagine the immensity of what these moments point to. To see Christ for myself and drink at His fountain in eternity is beyond my ability to comprehend. So the conflict still goes on inside of me, I thirst and drink and I am grateful. I know what I taste now is just a drop of the ocean of love that waits in His kingdom come.
If thou wilt diligently hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, . . . and wilt keep all his statutes —Exodus 15:26
Atmosphere is critical when it comes to physical as well as emotional healing. Living in a toxic environment is deadly. We obviously realize if someone is praying for healing from lung cancer it would be a pretty good idea to stop smoking. Just as cigarettes are toxic to our physical health there are toxic spiritual atmospheres that must be avoided. Placing yourself in a spiritual environment is critical to receive ministry from the Lord. The Holy Spirit is actually the atmosphere of heaven. In heaven we will be living in Him, breathing in and feeding on the Presence of the Lord. There will be no sorrow, pain, or sickness. Our lives will be completely whole as we live in the atmosphere of life. In this world, we can taste the edge of His great healing ministry. Jesus is the Great Physician and He wants to attend to us in our infirmities right here and right now. Here is how A.B. Simpson describes this incredible doctor.
“Sometimes people fall because they lack confidence in the Physician. The very first requirement for your healing is that you trust the Physician, and trust Him implicitly-so implicitly that you go forward on His bare word and act as if you had received His healing the moment you claimed His promise. You must also do what the Great Physician tells you, if you expect Him to make you whole. The pills prescribed by your doctor would do you no good if left on the cupboard shelf. You cannot expect to be healed if you are living in sin, any more than you could expect the best physician to cure you while you lived in a malarial climate or inhaled poison with every breath. So you must move from doubt into the pure air of trust and obedience before Christ can make you whole. And then if you will trust Him and respond to His directions, you will find that there is balm in Gilead and a Great Physician there.”
Everywhere Jesus goes there is healing and life. Submit to His heavenly ministry as the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. There is a healing river that flows out of Him. Stay immersed in the River of God. Bath yourself in His written word. As you get under His influence healing is the sure result.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.
Several years ago on one of my trips to Africa we went to a place in Uganda called the source of the Nile. It was near a small town just north of Lake Victoria. Actually, the search for the source of the Nile holds a special historic position in the evangelization of Africa. It was the search for the source of the Nile that brought Dr. Livingston to central Africa in the Nineteenth Century. He fell in love with the people there and actually died ministering to the precious people in Central Africa. There is a River that flows from heaven. What is it’s source? It flows from the very heart of God, it flows from the wounds of Calvary on the side of Jesus. Here are some thoughts about the source of the River from F. E. Marsh.
“The water of life comes from the broken humanity of the Christ of Calvary and the glorified Lord of ascension glory. The waters that satisfied Israel in the wilderness came from the smitten rock of Horeb (Exod. 17:6); the waters of ezekiel’s prophetic vision flow ‘from under the threshold of the house… at the south side of the altar’ (Ezekiel 47:1); and with Divine intent water of the river of life’s said not only to proceed from the throne of God, but also from the Lamb. From the glorified Man of Calvary, Who is the giver the Spirit because of what He gave Himself to on the cross, comes the streams of the Spirit’s floods. Only through Him does the Spirit come. Those who will not come by the channel bed of the cross, will never obtain the floods of the Spirit’s power and ministry. They will only find a dry bed of of stony discomforting the reptiles of unbelief. The riven side is the channel from whence comes the water of life.”
Just as the water gushed from the rock broken by Moses’ staff, the water of life flows from the side of our Lord. When he was pierced at the cross, water and blood flowed like a river, a river that washes and renews fallen man. Have you been to the River lately? Look for the source, look to the crucified, glorified Savior. There is a River proceeding from the throne of God.
Ezek. 47:3 ¶ And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles.
Ezek. 47:4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist.
Ezek. 47:5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed.
This is quite an amazing passage of scripture, Ezekiel recounting one of the many visions he had while in exile on the banks of the Chebar River. This particular vision is a picture of the temple of God with a river flowing out from the threshold. Of course the temple is a picture of Christ and the River is the River of the Spirit of God flowing out from the Lord. An angel guide begins to take Ezekiel out into the River measuring a thousand cubits between each stop. The first stop the River measures ankle deep. This could be interpreted as a Christian being touched by the River and The River having an effect on his walk, how he lives his life. The second stop the River advances to the knees. This could mean that as the believer goes deeper into the River that prayer becomes a normal part of his life. The third stop has the River up to his waste, the actual direction and thrust of the Christian’s life is being influenced by the River of God. The final stop has the River going over Ezekiel’s head. This speaks to us of a life totally taken over by God. The believer’s entire life has been swallowed up, he has now taken on the identity of Christ.
You and I live in the time of the incredible fulfillment of this prophesy. The Spirit is being poured out on all flesh.
Our church, like many others, experienced an incredible touch of the River of God beginning in 1994. Shortly after the visitation began in our church I realized it had been going on in other places for several years and I was clueless. I don’t want to be clueless. Ezekiel’s River is flowing in our generation, wade out into the waters, let Him have more of your life. Soon, you may find yourself swimming in the River of God.
John 4:14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
I know sometimes, when you are reading a devotion, you skip over the scripture and move quickly into the topic for today. Today, take an extra moment and read these two passages carefully. If you pay close attention you will see the two basic ways the anointing of the Holy Spirit works in a Christian. In John 4:14, Jesus is talking about the anointing within us. The Holy Spirit within satisfies our thirsty soul and brings healing and completeness to our hearts. In this passage, the Lord is talking to a woman who is trying to find her satisfaction in the things of this world. Jesus told her if she would come to Him and drink she would never thirst again. There would be an artesian well of living water springing up inside of her.
In the second verse in today’s devotion, Jesus is prophesying about an anointing that would come upon His followers. In the gospel of Luke, He said we would be clothed with power from on high. The picture being painted is as if someone was putting on a coat. This coat is actually the supernatural enabling power of God. So looking at both of these passages we see that the Lord promised us a two-fold relationship with the Holy Spirit: the Spirit within us and the Spirit upon us.
Every Christian has the need in their lives for these two dynamic functions of the Holy Spirit. Obviously, we all face challenges to our faith every day. From suggestive clothing, widespread use of alcohol, and an overall casual approach to deliverance from sin, it is hard to be a Christian. The world looks for its identity and its pleasure in the diet of sin that the church casually overlooks. Only drinking from that fountain within, like the woman at the well, can take away that nagging itch that draws us to sin. Drinking from that river in our bellies keeps us contented in Christ, free from the temptations and the pleasures of this world. The anointing upon us is also a powerful component in our lives. Its basic function is to anoint us to minister to the hurting people who are all around us. So today, determine to draw strength from the two anointings of the Spirit; the anointing within and the mantle upon.