Afterward he brought me again to the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward…
In this noble vision we have a prophecy of that great redeeming power which Jesus Christ should introduce to the world, and we have some insight given us of its triumphs in the far future. Of this wonderful river we have to inquire into
I. ITS DIVINE SOURCE. The river flowed "from under the threshold of the house" - from the very dwelling-place of Jehovah. The river of life has its source in the Divine, in God himself, in his fatherly yearning, in his boundless pity, in his redeeming purpose. The heavens themselves pour down the rains, which feed the springs, which make the rivers of earth; but from above the clouds, from one whom "the heaven of heavens cannot contain," comes that river of life which a wasted and despoiled world is waiting to receive. It is a Divine mind alone that could conceive, a Divine heart alone that-could produce, such a benevolent force as this.
II. ITS SPIRITUAL CHARACTER. The river of the gospel of Christ is the river of Divine truth. The kingdom of God is to be established by purely moral and spiritual agencies. When violence is used to promote it, there is a miserable departure from its essential spirit, and there is a serious injury done to its final triumph. For it wins by other and better means. And as water is itself composed of two elements, so the truth of God in the gospel of Christ is twofold. It includes the truth we most want to know concerning ourselves - our nature, our character, our position before God, our possibilities in the present and in the future; and also the truth we most want to know concerning God - his character and disposition, his purpose of mercy, his supreme act of self-denying love, his overtures of grace, his summons to eternal life.
III. ITS TWO SOVEREIGN VIRTUES.
1. That of renewal. All kinds of fish live in its waters (vers. 9, 10); many trees grow and thrive on its banks, nourished by its streams (ver. 7); "everything lives whither the river cometh" (ver. 9).
2. That of cleansing. Such are the virtues of this river that, flowing into the Dead Sea, it sweetens even its salt waters and cleanses them of their bitterness, so that fish once more live therein: "Its waters are healed" (ver. 8). Such is the gracious and beneficent action of the truth of the gospel of Christ.
(1) It is the source of new life; it revives and it sustains. It finds men and communities in spiritual death, and it imparts a new and blessed life; before it comes is a dreary moral waste, after its waters have begun to flow there is beauty and fertility. Peoples that seemed wholly lost to wisdom and to righteousness are regained; homes that appeared hopelessly darkened with sin and shame are made light with its beams of truth and grace; hearts that were desolate and deathful are filled with peace and joy and immortal hope. Everything lives where this blessed river comes.
(2) It is the one great cleansing power. Into the darkest and foulest places it enters, and it brings with it sweetness and purity; corruption cannot live where its waters pass, but disappears before them. This is true, not only of the hearts and the homes of men, but of districts, of cities, of countries.
IV. ITS GLORIOUS ABUNDANCE. (Vers. 3-5.) Once a small stream, it is now a broad, deep river, whose course nothing can check, whose waters are inexhaustibly full, whose beneficence nothing can measure. It has come down these many centuries, it has girdled the whole earth, it will flow on and on until all the nations have been renewed.
1. Have we partaken of its life-giving waters?
2. Are we gaining therefrom the healing and the growth they will yield? - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: Afterward he brought me again unto the door of the house; and, behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward: for the forefront of the house stood toward the east, and the waters came down from under from the right side of the house, at the south side of the altar.
WEB: He brought me back to the door of the house; and behold, waters issued out from under the threshold of the house eastward; (for the forefront of the house was toward the east;) and the waters came down from under, from the right side of the house, on the south of the altar.