The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?” Then he led me back to the bank of the river. – Ezekiel 47:1-6
This passage just became one of my favorite passages so far on my float through the Bible. The water imagery is so rich and complex, like the wisdom of a rushing stream. The word picture it provides is a powerful metaphor for God’s amazing love for us. As I have been chewing on this passage I have been reminded of a song I have been hearing on the radio recently. It is one of the most powerful songs for me this Christmas season. It is a song performed by Chris Tomlin’s band and Lauren Daigle and came out a couple years ago. It is called simply “Noel”. Here is a portion of the lyrics (you can watch it performed live here):
Love incarnate, love divine
Star and angels gave the sign
Bow to babe on bended knee
The Savior of humanity
Unto us a Child is born
He shall reign forevermore
Come and see what God has done
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Noel by Edmond Martin Cash, Matthew James Redman, Christopher D. Tomlin and sung by Laura Daigle
The vision that Ezekiel is given here is one of a man walking beside a river and that man is being led into deeper and deeper water until finally the river become “a river that no one could cross”. This is an amazing picture of our spiritual journey in pursuit of God. We cannot swim hard enough or fast enough to cross this river because the nature of this river, and our separation from God, is a spiritual one. We could take swimming lessons our entire life and we would still be unable to cross this river alone.
Fortunately for us we have a savior who is waiting to help us to cross this river if we ask for His help. His arm has reached out across the vast river to lead us through the ever increasing depths to the undiscovered country where He dwells with all the others who have made this journey before us. God is both the reason we are separated from Him and our only means of reconciliation – the lion and the lamb.
As many of you probably noticed I am a big C.S. Lewis fan and I am a big fan of the Chronicles of Narnia. There is a scene at the end of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader when Reepicheep, the cheeky mouse, is allowed to have his heart’s desire – to go to Aslan’s country with Aslan. They are standing on the beach at the edge of world talking with a lamb which will soon become someone they know very well – Aslan the lion:
“There is a way into my country from all the worlds,” said the Lamb; but as he spoke, his snowy white flushed into tawny gold and his size changed and he was Aslan himself, towering above them and scattering light from his mane. “Oh, Aslan,” said Lucy. “Will you tell us how to get into your country from our world?” “I shall be telling you all the time,” said Aslan. “But I will not tell you how long or short the way will be; only that it lies across a river. But do not fear that, for I am the great Bridge Builder. – C.S. Lewis Voyage of the Dawn Treader
“The story of amazing love” is what this passage is really about. On the banks of the Kebar River, buried here in the old testament, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ezekiel has been given a glimpse into the future of God’s gift to us, Himself. As Ezekiel was shown the figure being led into the ever deepening water the final question that God asks him is perhaps the most important question in all of creation, “Son of man, do you see this?” God asks each one of us this same question – “my child do you see this?”. “Come and see what God has done”.
Prayer: God thank You for the gift of this story of amazing love in this time of year when it is easy to lose sight of how much You love us.