There is a river whose streams gladden the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.
There is a river! This verse enlivened me this morning in such a strong way. There is a river! I hope that by the end of this post, many would be helped to see what this river is and how it applies to us today.
Beginning and End
And a river went forth from Eden to water the garden, and from there it divided and became four branches.
Here we see the first appearance of this river, flowing from God (signified by the number 1 – Deut. 6:4) and reaching man (signified by the number 4 – Ezk. 1:5). This river quenched man’s thirst and issued in the tree of life (Gen. 2:9).
And he showed me a river of water of life, bright as crystal, proceeding out from the throne of God and of the Lamb in the middle of its street.
Here we see this river in eternity, still flowing out from God, reaching man, and resulting in the tree of life (Rev. 22:2). I’d like to draw your attention to the fact that this river proceeds “out from” the throne of God and of the Lamb, not “out from underneath” as some imagine. This river proceed directly from God Himself!
What a river! This surely is a mysterious picture in Revelation. I’d like to look at some of the instances in other parts of the Word.
The River – The Triune God
He who believes into Me, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. But this He said concerning the Spirit…
This river is the Spirit! When we believe into the Lord, the Spirit flows in as a river. This river brings us into the flow that springs up into eternal life (Jn. 4:14). This river also issues forth from our innermost being, watering others and bringing them into this divine flow.
This explains the usage of “out from” in Revelation 22, for the Spirit issues forth from the Father and the Son who occupy the same throne. This Spirit is the flowing out of God Himself to man!
For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, to hew out for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, which hold no water.
God the Father, as the source, the fountain of living waters, desires to flow out to man as his supply, satisfaction, and enjoyment.
I will be standing before you there upon the rock in Horeb; and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it so that the people may drink…
And all drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank of a spiritual rock which followed them, and the rock was Christ.
-1 Corinthians 10:4
But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately there came out blood and water.
God the Son, as the course, the means by which the river issues forth, was pierced on the cross to release the blood and water. The blood cleanses us from all our sins. The water brings us the river of life, the divine life of God. This life first reaches us at our regeneration (1 Pet. 1:3), installing the river within as mentioned in John 4 and 7.
The Son is the rock that was split in Horeb, issuing forth in the living water, releasing the life of God the Father who is the source.
For also in one Spirit we were all baptized into one Body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and were all given to drink one Spirit.
-1 Corinthians 12:13
God the Spirit, as the flow, the very river itself (as mentioned earlier in John 7), is God the Father, through Christ, reaching man as the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45). This Spirit, as the dispensing of God into man, does not flow in once for all. Though He does eternally remain within us, the Lord desires that we would continue to drink of Him eternally!
And a river went forth…the name of the first is Pishon…where there is gold…bdellium and onyx stone are there.
In this river are three elements: gold, bdellium (a pearl-like substance), and onyx stone (a precious stone). These elements symbolize the Triune God. The gold represents God the Father (Jb. 22:25; Ex. 25:11; Rev. 3:18). The bdellium represents God the Son (Num. 11:7; Jn. 6:49, 51). The stone represents the Spirit as the transforming One (2 Cor. 3:18; Rm. 12:2).
When we receive this river into us, the elements of the river are wrought into our being. This is a slow process that results from a lifetime of enjoying the sweet flow of life. We, by this river, become partakers of the divine nature of God (2 Pet. 1:4), partakers of the sweet redemption of Christ, making us the pearl of great worth (Matt. 13:46; Rev. 21:21), and partakers of the transforming Spirit who makes us holy, righteous, mature sons of God (2 Cor. 3:18; 1 Pet. 1:16; Matt. 5:48; Rm. 8:29).
This river, the Triune God Himself, brings with it all the elements of the Triune God to be our life, nature, glory, oneness, and eventually our expression.
And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
These elements eventually are built together into the City of God, which is the Church of the living God, the New Jerusalem. The river issues in a City, and the river supplies the City:
They are saturated with the fatness of Your house, and you cause them to drink of the river of Your pleasures.
We must be those who are saturated with the fatness of God’s house, which simply means that we are saturated with the unsearchable riches of Christ, who is the the element with which the Church, the House, the City of God is built:
Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone; in whom all the building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord.
God is now my salvation…Therefore you will draw water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation, and you will say in that day, “Give thanks to Jehovah; call upon His name! Make His deeds known among the peoples. Remind them that His name is exalted. Sing psalms to Jehovah, for He has done something majestic! Let it be made known in all the earth! Cry out and give a ringing shout, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”
We need to enjoy this river! How? I encourage you to practice the above from Isaiah 12. Give thanks to the Lord! Call upon His name! Make know His deeds! Exalt His name! Sing psalms to Jehovah! Let it be known in all the earth! Cry out and give a ringing shout! We are inhabitants of Zion, and great is the Holy One in our midst.
Be crazy. Desperately seek the Lord, Who is a flowing river. Ask Him to bring you into this wonderful flow!