The river of life- Tuesday, 4th Week of Lent – Ezekiel 47:1-9,12/ John 5: 1-16

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This text of today is certainly difficult to understand if you have no background to the Prophet Ezekiel. The passage is about a vision of hope given to the prophet Ezekiel who lived in exile for 25 years in Babylon (40:1). The temple in Jerusalem had been devastated because of the idolatrous sins of God’s people and as a result they were taken into exile and scattered, while the rest were living in their own ruined land.

For the people in exile and those back home, it seemed that there was no hope and no future. At this point, Ezekiel saw a series of visions. In his earlier vision, he saw abominations in the temple and the glory of Yahweh departing from the temple (Ch.8-11). But in his final vision (Ch. 40-48), Ezekiel sees a vision of a new temple. He witnesses the glory of the Lord returning to fill his temple (43:1-12). Ezekiel’s vision zooms out even further to describe the new city and land (Ch. 47-48). The new temple is in the very centre of this new city.

Today’s passage describes a marvellous river flowing from the temple to bring life and healing to the land. Ironically, in all of its recorded history, Jerusalem never had such a river. There were streams and springs, but never a rich, mighty river, and never one flowing from this part of the city. Jerusalem is the only great city of the ancient world that wasn’t located on a river, and in the east, a dependable water supply is essential for life and for defense

So, what is the point of Ezekiel’s vision for us today? Simply this, it reveals God’s heart for a broken world and testifies about the Gospel of Jesus. God wants us to know his heart and to give us a river of life that flows out to heal our broken hearts and our violent world. So, the hope that Ezekiel shared is that in this semi-arid geography of Israel, a river like this will be both a blessing and a miracle. It will bring life, growth, vitality, refreshment, hope, and security.

The last word of God for each of us is not destruction but new life in Jesus.

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