“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, south of the altar. . . 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. 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. 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. He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river. When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary . . .” (Ezekiel 47:1–12 NKJV, selected, emphasis mine).
In this passage, Ezekiel prophetically reveals his vision of the millennial temple; however, this prophecy also unveils the powerful truth that believers today may breakthrough to enjoy an abundant Spirit-filled life. It is this aspect of this text that is relevant to us now.
His vision reveals that God’s power resides within us fully, is restricted by us frequently, and is released through us fruitfully.
God’s Power Resides within Us Fully (47:1, 2). The prophet was returned to the source of the power that flows from within the temple – the door. For us, Jesus is the “Door” (John 10:9) or the point of access to the power of God in us as we are His temple (1 Corinthians 3:16)! In the Old Testament temple, the presence of God in all of His glory (i.e., shekinah¹) resided above the Mercy Seat, between the cherubim, within the Most Holy Place (Exodus 25:21-22). “In the Old Testament, God had a temple for His people. In the New Testament, God has a people for His temple.”² Today, Jesus dwells within the believer in all of His glory since He is the fullness of the godhead bodily, is the ultimate rule and authority over all powers, and we are thus complete in Him (Colossians 2:9-10). Yes, all of His authority and gifts now are vested in His body of believers (1 Corinthians 12:4-11) and are operated in and through us at His will to bless others! It is from this relationship between God and the believer that there is an outflow of His power in our life and ministry!
God’s Power is Restricted by Us Frequently (47:3-6). Thankfully, God brought the prophet through these shallow waters to the banks of a vast river! It was then that the power of God would be subsequently realized in its fullness. This vision of the prophet illustrates a gradual maturing of the believer, who initially has a shallow experience (i.e., ankle deep; knee deep; waist deep) that joyfully progresses into one of great spiritual depth (i.e., unfathomable and impassable waters). Too often, we splash around in the “kiddie pool” concerning our spiritual formation, when we truly should be aiming for the “deep end of the pool” where we are fully immersed in God! Perhaps, it is our desire to maintain some facade of control or formality that hinders our “letting go and letting God” do His works among us. Let us not quench the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). The apostle Paul says that our unlimited God who “is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think” is limited by His “power that works in us” (Ephesians 3:20). So, may God bring us through our superficiality and to the place where He can do greater works in us than He did (John 14:12)!
God’s Power is Released through Us Fruitfully (47:7–12). Ezekiel now sees that the waters flowing from the temple are traveling down the Jordan Valley into the Dead Sea—the lowest point on earth³ and as it has no outlet, its salinity results in a dead body of water that cannot sustain life; yet, these are “healing waters” that are restoring health and life to this sea! Yes, the prophet sees that the once barrentrees are now bearing fruit in abundance; and that the once dead waters are now teeming with all kinds of fish! Perhaps, you are at your lowest point and there is seemingly no health or life left within you, your family, or even your church; lift up your head for the “healing waters” of Christ can flow via His body of believers through us and give us the healing, the life, the fruitfulness, and abundance that we all long for! Jesus said, “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:38-39, NKJV). In addition to other Scriptures found in Isaiah (12:3; 43:20; 44:3; 55:1), I believe Jesus also had Ezekiel’s prophecy here in His mind when He made this declaration.
Therefore, let us realize that the power of God to heal and give life resides in every believer and is immediately available for us to access! It is limited only by the restrictions we place on it (i.e., unbelief; quenching the Spirit; lack of prayer and fasting; etc.). So, is the River of Living Waters flowing through you and onto others? Remember, everything will live wherever the river goes! You too can have a breakthrough from where you are to where God wants you to be!
¹ Shekinah. Jewishencyclopedia.com. The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13537-shekinah. In the Targumim, the majestic presence or manifestation of God which has descended to “dwell” among men (accessed June 27, 2014)
² Dr. Adrian Rogers, The Adrian Rogers Legacy Bible, Love Worth Finding Ministries, Inc., 2009, p. 1283. ³ Dead Sea. Geography.About.com. http://geography.about.com/library/faq/blqzlowestpoint.htm. The lowest point on land on earth is at the Dead Sea, on the border of Jordan and Israel. The Dead Sea lies at 1,312 feet (400 meters) below sea level (accessed June 27, 2014).
—Bishop Benjamin Duncan
High Point, North Carolina