Lesson 2 – The RiverTree Vision
The vision of the garden of God, of Eden restored, that we considered in the last study, was prophetically anticipated by the Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel. The passage from Ezekiel 47 has been very important to us as a church in shaping our understanding of this vision that we are called to be a part of and that is the context for the call to be fruitful. The river of life flows from the place of God’s presence, the source of everything we’re about. We have been loved into life. But that river flows out into our everyday worlds and our community and transforms the whole environment. Most notably, it produces a tree – singular in Revelation 22, but ‘of many kinds’ here – that represents a kingdom community who are living in love and reaching out to others with love, healing and transformation. In this study we are going to reflect more on this important prophetic passage and consider what it might look like in practice.
Key Bible Passage
The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple towards the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He then brought me out through the north gate and led me round the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.
3 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. 4 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. 5 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. 6 He asked me, ‘Son of man, do you see this?’
Then he led me back to the bank of the river. 7 When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. 8 He said to me, ‘This water flows towards the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. 9 Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds – like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.’
Other Bible Texts: Rev.22:1-5; Matthew 13:31-32
Questions for Reflection and Application
- Why is it important to see that the river flows from the temple (v.1)? What does that teach us?
- Where do you think our ‘places for spreading nets’ (v.10) are?
- What do you notice about the ‘fruit trees’ (v.12)? What do you think we can learn from this picture?
- Is there anything else we learn from this passage, full of prophetic imagery, about being fruitful?
- Read the blog post based on Trevor Lloyd’s word, ‘From a Wilderness to a Garden’
- Read or reread our Vision and Purpose booklet which explores the vision based on this passage in more detail. A summary of our vision and mission is here.
There is a PDF version of this study here.