May 21, 2023 | Doug Sauder
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“Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple . . .”—Ezekiel 47:1 (NKJV)
As I’m writing this, I’m witnessing the life-giving properties of water all around me. For the past several weeks, the rain that usually falls around this time of year in my neck of the woods has ceased. A casual glance out of my window reveals a sickly, burnt-brown color across the neighborhood lawns that should be an emerald green. The flowers, shrubs, and many trees look more dead than alive. We need rain, because water is needed for life to thrive!
The sorry state of my lawn only echoes a greater spiritual reality we see depicted here by the prophet Ezekiel. In context, Ezekiel has been given a glimpse into his people’s future. Most of the book that bears his name deals with the consequences of God’s judgment towards the nation of Israel. Collectively, they had departed from the Lord’s ways and committed spiritual adultery. As God revealed through Ezekiel, the consequences for Israel’s sin would be immense, but not final. The book ends with an expanded look ahead to when Christ returns to Earth, rescues His people, and centers His global kingdom within the land of Israel, itself! This is the period of time often referred to as The Millennial Kingdom or The Thousand-Year Reign, and you can read more about it in Revelation chapter 20.
A lot of important details about this period of time are revealed at the end of Ezekiel, including the fact that a new temple will be established in the city Jerusalem, which is also thought to serve as a spot from which Christ will rule over all the earth. Interestingly, Ezekiel also reveals to us that a river will actually emanate from the foundation of this new temple. Initially, it begins as a shallow stream, but as it continues to flow eastward and westward it eventually reaches a depth that can’t be crossed on foot until it finally flows into the Mediterranean Sea to the west and into the Dead Sea to the east (Zechariah 14:8). But in a wonderful way, the Dead Sea will be transformed into the Living Sea because the water from the temple will cleanse it of its deadly properties allowing life to thrive where it never could before (Ezekiel 47:8–9)—not to mention the life that will be brought all along the banks of this new kingdom river!
Now let’s connect some dots. The temple represents the Lord’s presence, and from this place of His presence a transformative river flows, bringing life to what was once dead. Is this not a profound picture of what happens to every life where Christ is enthroned? Aren’t the dead places brought to life and isn’t the promise of Jesus fulfilled, that whoever believes in Him experiences rivers of living water flowing from within them by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38)? And won’t the healing begun here find complete fulfillment in His kingdom? What a reason to simply stop and thank the King from whom all life flows!
Pause: What does the physical description of the kingdom river reveal in a spiritual sense?
Practice: Consider how Christ’s presence in Your heart has resurrected the dead places in your life.
Pray: Great King of kings and Lord of lords, I just pause in this moment and still myself in wonderment at all You’ve done in me here in this life and for all You will do in the life to come! Thank You! Amen.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.