Streams of Living Water - Part 1

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Psalm 1:2–3 (ESV)

2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.

The picture of a green, prosperous tree, being feed by streams of water is an image that this used repeatedly throughout the Scriptures.  In Genesis 2, two hallmarks of the Garden of Eden were the trees (the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) and the river that flowed out of Eden to water and give life to all the surrounding lands.

In Ezekiel 47, the prophet, in a vision of the new future temple in Israel, saw water abundantly flowing from its foundations down into the seas.  Ezekiel 47:12 reads, “And 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.”

This same image of rivers of water flowing out from the foundations of a structure is used again in Revelations 22, but this time the structure is not the temple but it’s the actual throne of God.  “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations (Revelations 22:1-2).”

In all three of these passages, God’s life-giving presence is seen as rivers of living water nurturing and feeding everything around it.  In Genesis, it’s a description of creation before The Fall when God dwelt with mankind; and in Ezekiel and Revelations it’s a vision of the new heaven and new earth where God again dwells with man (Rev. 21:3).

In light of these Scriptures, I believe that the image of the enduring, fruitful tree feed by streams of water is primarily a metaphor of the life-giving ministry of God’s holy and loving PRESENCE on a human soul that’s brought about through the practical delighting in God’s Words.

When we read His Word, study it, memorize it, meditate on it and ultimately believe and obey it, He abides in us and speaks His truth to us.  His presence and message are like streams of living water that nurture our dying souls with life and truth.  As a result, His presence and truth cause holy love, pure desires and true thoughts to prosper in our hearts and we grow like a tree feed by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and its leaf does not wither.