The condition of a river reflects very much on the area around it.
A river full of shopping trolleys is not going to house many fish and other aquatic life. But a nice clean river, with good flow will make a river flourish.
10 Then with the help of the Spirit, he took me to the top of a very high mountain. There he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down from God in heaven.
22 I did not see a temple there. The Lord God All-Powerful and the Lamb were its temple. 23 And the city did not need the sun or the moon. The glory of God was shining on it, and the Lamb was its light.
24 Nations will walk by the light of that city, and kings will bring their riches there. 25 Its gates are always open during the day, and night never comes. 26 The glorious treasures of nations will be brought into the city. 27 But nothing unworthy will be allowed to enter. No one who is dirty-minded or who tells lies will be there. Only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life will be in the city.
22 The angel showed me a river that was crystal clear, and its waters gave life. The river came from the throne where God and the Lamb were seated. 2 Then it flowed down the middle of the city’s main street. On each side of the river are trees that grow a different kind of fruit each month of the year. The fruit gives life, and the leaves are used as medicine to heal the nations.
3 God’s curse will no longer be on the people of that city. He and the Lamb will be seated there on their thrones, and its people will worship God 4 and will see him face to face. God’s name will be written on the foreheads of the people. 5 Never again will night appear, and no one who lives there will ever need a lamp or the sun. The Lord God will be their light, and they will rule forever.
The river flowing through the City of Jerusalem is crystal clear. Its waters are to give life. And as if to prove that along either side of the river are trees growing and producing fruit. The fruit from those trees also give life. This city is about giving life.
I mentioned last week about God Making New. That however bad things have got God can turn them around and do something different. I’m sure I’ve also mentioned before about when my life fell apart. Strangely enough, my unravelling was brought about to a large degree by someone inadvertently throwing away a clay model I had made. That model was of a tree. Not a luscious and full of life tree like those mentioned here, but a wizened and dried up tree – all branches and dead wood. That tree had come to represent where I was and how I felt, and for someone to throw even that away, felt like total destruction of my life and it’s value.
However, it was also from that point, slowly, very slowly, that I began to understand that it had to go for a reason. That only from that point of utter desolation absolute pain could healing begin. And very, very carefully the river of water of life began to nourish me and feed me, and a different life could be born. The only thing I had to bring to God was my brokenness, but that was enough. That was the seed from which a new tree, a fruitful tree could grow – fed and watered by him.
Life has taken some interesting turns since then. Certainly physically I am more broken than I might have thought possible then, but God continues to bring his life and light and healing in ways I don’t always notice, but are nevertheless real and life-giving.
God has not finished with any of us yet. There is still healing work to be done.
So the image of a tree growing strongly and fruiting is a very powerful and meaningful one to me. This passage takes us to a promise and a hope for us all – In that city will be water, life and light – for that is where God is. Restoring us, healing us, refreshing us, completing us.
The picture I have is of sitting by that crystal clear river, whose waters give life, dangling my feet in. Receiving refreshment and nourishment. Basking in the light of God.
Thank you Lord
that however things are
you promise us life
watered and fed by your life
and your presence.
may I remember always to plant my roots in you
and allow you to heal me,
and grow in me