Ezekiel 47:3-5 - "The River of the Spirit" by Ern Baxter.
"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 upto my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came upto 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".
Establishing the Symbol.
- John 7:38-39 - "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow RIVERS of living water. But this He spake of the Spirit ...".
Headquarters Passage - Ezekiel 47:1-12.
1. Sanctuary Waters.
- vv1, 12 - " ... at the south side of the ALTAR ... their waters issued out of the SANCTUARY".
The River of the Holy Spirit blessing must flow from the place of sacrifice. Sin must first be dealt with before God can pour out His Spirit. "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law ... that we might receive the promise of the Spirit" (Galatians 3:13,14).
2. Running Waters.
- vv1, 2 - " ... ISSUE out from ... and CAME DOWN ... RAN OUT".
Stagnant waters are a curse. The motionless, evil-smelling swamps and sloughs serve as breeding places for a thousand ills. The Holy Spirit life is one of activity. "Out of his belly shall FLOW rivers of living waters".
3. Increasing Waters.
i) "Waters were to the ankles" (v3). Strong ankles enable one to walk. We read concerning the lame man at the Gate Beautiful, that "his feet and ANKLES" received strength. And he leaping up STOOD and WALKED (Acts 3:7, 8). The submersion of the ankles in this River of Blessing doubtless refers, in the language of symbolism, to "walking in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16).
ii) "Waters were to the knees" (v4). The "KNEE" symbolically considered stands for WORSHIP and SUBMISSION. "Let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord" (PSalm 95:6). "Every knee shall bow!" (Phil 2:10). "They that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit" (John 3:24).
iii) "Waters were to the loins" (v4). Loins speak of fruitfulness. God speaking to Jacob said, " ... kings shall come out of thy loins" (Genesis 35:11). We are urged to be fruitful in every good work (Col 1:10). The Christian's very character is referred to as the FRUIT of the Spirit (Gal 5:22).
iv) "Waters to swim in" (v5). Just as a swimmer almost totally submerged in water, moves freely about in the water so is it possible to enjoy a "more abundant life" (John 10:10). And a "Liberty in the Spirit" (2 Cor 3:17). Note these waters are to swim in. Here is progress. We are "changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Cor 3:18).
4. Productive Waters.
- vv 7, 12 - " ... at the bank of the river were VERY MANY TREES ... trees for meat ... the leaf thereof for medicine".
The righteous man is "like a TREE planted by the rivers of water that bringeth forth his fruit in his season" (Psalm 1:3). These trees were not for beauty only but to provide food and healing. So the Holy Spirit not only makes holy in character but all gives divine energy for service. The world finds Christ through the Spirit-filled child of God.
5. Living Waters.
- v9 - "Everything shall LIVE whither the river cometh".
"It is the Spirit that giveth LIFE" (John 6:63). All flesh endeavour, such as human religious performance, "Do the best you can" etc, is enacted in the realm of death. For the "flesh profiteth nothing" (John 6:63).
6 Directed Waters.
- v8 - " ... towards the EAST .. down into the DESERT .. into the SEA".
There is nothing aimless or uncertain about the Holy Spirit. The EAST is the direction from which God manifests Himself (Hos 13:15, Jonah 4:8, Matt 2:2). It is the direction associated with Christ's return (Matt 24:27, Mal 4:2). This river of blessing bears steadily towards the glad day of Christ's second coming. The DESERT speaks of the world as a place of desolation and more especially of the world as a place of testing for God's people (Matt 4:1, Heb 3:8). How welcome is the Blessed River here! (Isaiah 43:20). The SEA is symbolic of the world of wicked men (Isaiah 57:20, Jer 6:23). For 2000 years the river of God's grace by the Holy Spirit has been pouring into the world torrents of salvation and blessing until the entire world in some measure has felt it's blessed influence.
7. Healing Waters.
v8 - "the waters (Dead Sea) shall be healed".
What a scope this word takes in! Whether it is the broken heart, the fear-laden mind, or the diseased body, these refreshing soothing and healing waters flow from the sanctuary to run their gracious errand.
Next: Addition References to Rivers.