16 March 2021

16 March 2021

He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah; and when it enters the sea, the sea of stagnant waters, the water will become fresh. Wherever the river goes, every living creature that swarms will live, and there will be very many fish, once these waters reach there. It will become fresh; and everything will live where the river goes. On the banks, on both sides of the river, there will grow all kinds of trees for food. Their leaves will not wither nor their fruit fail, but they will bear fresh fruit every month, because the water for them flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.’

Ezekiel 47:1-9,12, NRSV

For many years while the “Chosen People” were in exile and Jerusalem lay in destruction, the prophets had struggled to find hope. Ezekiel was called by God to deliver many dire warnings and messages. Finally, in the midst of the despair around him, Ezekiel is given this great vision of the new temple and the new life it represents. In great detail, Ezekiel describes a river flowing from the temple and out to the Dead Sea. In all of its history, Jerusalem had never had such a river but now Ezekiel is given this vision of a miraculous river that will bring life and vitality everywhere it goes. This land and its people are going to be blessed beyond imagination – even the waters of a stagnant sea will become fresh and trees will flower in the desert. Much has been written about whether Ezekiel’s prophecy was about a real or a symbolic river with many dismissing the idea that such a river could exist in such a climate. Whether the river is real or symbolic, every detail in this story points to the power of God to heal, to give and sustain life and to provide his people with everything they need in abundance.

    • What promise did Ezekiel’s vision hold for the people of his time?
    • What is your experience of the healing and life giving power of God?

Reflect on the ways in which the grace of God flows through your life.

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