Observations from today’s readings and today’s S-WOD, Saturday, 21 November 20:
Ezekiel 47:1-12 – “Behold, water was issuing from below the threshold of the temple…. And wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish. For this water goes there, that the waters of the sea may become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes…. Their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
The river of life flows from the temple, bringing life to all who draw near to it and providing all that is needed for life. Jesus is the Living Water, and true followers of Christ are now the temple. Our job is the allow the living water of Jesus to flow through us, not to attempt to create our own ‘water’ to give to others.
Ezekiel 34:18, 19 — Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture; and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the water with your feet? And must my sheep eat what you have trodden with your feet, and drink what you have muddied with your feet?
We should not seek to share mere ‘good ideas’ with others, our personal opinions, or the latest humanistic answers to life’s problems; nor should we merely seek to make people feel a bit more comfortable apart from Jesus. Our mission is to speak as Ambassadors for Christ, using only His words, not ours. Of those who exchange the Gospel for moralism, concepts of ethics, or fuzzy ideas of an all-accepting god, the Bible says, “My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13) The only thing we have to offer the world is Jesus, nothing else matters. Jesus alone is the Way, the Truth, the Life, and the Living Water, and those who abide in Him bear fruit (John 15), “their leaves will not wither, nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.”
- Jeremiah 6:14 — They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace.
- 1 John 3:24 — Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.
- John 8:31 — So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples,
- John 15:5 — Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Some look at the Bible as a self-help book full of principles to solve life’s problems. However, the Bible is the word of God intended to unite you with the Living Word, the Living Water, Jesus. (See John 1) Principles and practices don’t bring us life, Jesus brings us life, and eternal life is knowing Him, which begins at the moment of salvation. (John 17:3) As Ambassadors of Christ, we must not stop short by merely telling people about what the Bible says on a particular matter, we must share the Gospel of Christ — “…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…. Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 4:14; John 7:37-39)
Consider what Ezekiel reveals about the Spirit flowing from Jesus – a small ‘trickle’ emanating from the Temple turns into a mighty river (swimming depths) which follows a geographically impossible path (countering gravity) and brings incredible life to everything it touches. Compare this picture with the parables Jesus gives about the Kingdom.
In Ezekiel’s prophesy, the river “flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, and enters the sea” – impossible. (v. 47:8) The sea is the Dead Sea, and to get there from Jerusalem via the route Ezekiel describes, it would have to flow down to the Kidron Valley, up over the Mount of Olives, and then cross through a series of other valleys and mountain ranges. Gravity and other forces and pressures make this impossible for an ordinary river, but this is no ordinary river, which is further confirmed by what happens when the river reaches the Dead Sea. The salinity of the Dead Sea is so great (almost nine times saltier than the ocean) nothing visible lives in it. But when the river from the temple reaches it, the water is instantly transformed and can support fish “of very many kinds” (vv. 47:8–10). This vision describes the supernaturally transformative power of the Spirit flowing from Jesus and merely ‘trickling’ from the Temple – Wow! One day, God will rebuild His Temple (literally and/or figuratively) on a New Earth, but until that day, God is redeeming people through the church (the temple made up of God’s people) in miraculous ways and bringing new life where it is humanly impossible in order to bring glory to Himself. Our goal is to glorify God by living the new life and introducing others to Jesus that they too would experience the new life in Christ.
- 2 Corinthians 5:17 — Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
- Galatians 6:15 — For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
- John 7:38 — Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
- 2 Peter 1:3-11 — His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
“Cross” Fit S-WOD (Spiritual Workout of the Day) – 21 November 20: Share the Living Water with those all around you who are dying of thirst.