September 11 (Daily reading: Ezekiel 46-48, NIV) Ezekiel described an unusual feature of his vision: “I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east” (47:1). The further it flowed, the deeper it got, suggesting an abundance of supply of water. The stream flowed all the way down the Jordan to the Dead Sea, which is normally too salty for sea life to flourish. But in the vision, when the water coming from under the temple mingled with the salty water, the sea came to life with “swarms of living creatures…where the river flows everything shall live” (47:9). Fruit trees will also thrive on the banks of the river. They will continually bear fruit, “because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing (47:12).” Ezekiel’s vision showed that the Lord would be the source of life for His people who had been dying in exile. Jesus would later say, “He who believes in Me … from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water” (Jn. 7:38).
Ezekiel’s vision was a preview of what John saw in heaven. “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Rev. 22:1-2).
Ezekiel ends his book with words that show why the restored Jerusalem and temple were so important to the people: “And the name of the city from that time on will be: THE LORD IS THERE” (48:35). The Lord is truly Immanuel, “God with us” (Mt. 1:23).
– Al Gary