John Message #23 “Last Day of Feast of Booths” Ed Miller, May 22, 2024

Listen to the audio above while reading the transcript below which is also available for download at

I’d like to share a scripture and then we’ll go to prayer.  The verse is Isaiah 45:8, “Drip down oh heaven from above and let the clouds pour down,” you would expect it to say rain, but it doesn’t, “righteousness, and let the earth open up and let salvation bear fruit and righteousness spring up with it.  I the Lord have created it.”  The Lord gives us nature as a picture, but He wants to rain on us, and we are the earth to open up to receive what He rains on us, and then we’ll produce the fruit that pleases Him.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for Your precious Holy Spirit who lives in our hearts.  Thank You for the precious word of God that we have.  We can meditate on it and You’ll point us to the Lord Jesus.  Thank You for Your oversight and care over Your dear children, and we do pray for Wayne and Sharon, and we just ask that Your presence would be so real to them, and that they might appropriate Your presence.  Thank You, Lord, for their testimony and all You’ve done in their lives, and we commit them unto You now.  Guide us, we pray, as we meditate together.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Welcome again to our opportunity, our precious opportunity to let the world spin by itself underneath us, and we for a while can focus on our Lord Jesus Christ.  May He detach us from all concerns, distraction and even legitimate concerns.

In our mediation we’ve come to the end of John 7:2, “Now the feast of the Jews, the Feast of Booths, was near.”  All the events in this chapter are understood by recognizing that the Holy Spirit is not trying to explain the Feast of Tabernacles.  There is very little about the Feast of Tabernacles in this particular chapter.  This fall feast, also called the Feast of the Ingathering, is the occasion on which things were spoken.  We’ve going to focus on what was said, but it happened at the Feast of Booths.  Something can happen at a certain place and has nothing to do with that place.  I was at a wedding one time, and it was a winter day and the steps were slippery.  A dear friend of mine had a wheelchair with his invalid son, and he slipped on the top step and the chair went down and the son died.  Now, that death has nothing to do with the wedding, but it happened at the wedding.  I’m just trying to show you that things that are not connected can happen at another place.  We don’t learn much in this chapter about the Feast of Tabernacles.  As a matter of fact, the little that we know, it just names it, and that’s the only mention of it in the whole New Testament.  It’s not mentioned anymore in the New Testament.  So, what happened at that feast?

Of course, all of our studies are designed to take us to Jesus; that’s God’s heart, and He wants us to see His Son.  What happened at this feast in terms of Jesus?  Last week I suggested this little outline which takes us to the Lord.  John 7:14, “Now when it was in the midst of the feast, Jesus went up into the temple and began to teach.”  We ask the question, “What did He teach?”  And then in verse 28, “Jesus cried out in the temple.”  So, we ask, “What did He cry out?”  And then in verse 37, “On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out.”  So, He cried out again.  That’s our outline, chapter 7:14-27, what did He teach?  Chapter 7:28-36, what did He cry out the first time?  And then chapter 7:37-53, what did He cry out the second time?

I’m not going to review the first two sections.  If you missed that the CD’s are available or it’s online.  Thank you, Janet.  But the most important revelation that took place at the Feast of Booths is His second cry, John 7:37&38, “On the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’”  When we closed last time, we were focusing on that statement.  In fact, that’s what we’re going to focus on this morning, that same statement.  He stood up, usually they sit down when they teach, and He cried, and the original language leads us to believe that it was at the top of His lungs, and don’t forget that there are hundreds of thousands of people there at this feast, and He stood up and He cried at the top of His lungs, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.”

Last week we started to look at that passage.  I made only one observation, and I’ll review that and then we’ll come back again and look at the verse.  In John 7:38 He said, “He who believes in Me as the scriptures said, from his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”  That is an enlargement on what He said to the woman of Samaria in John 4:14, “Whoever drinks the water I will give him shall never thirst.  The water that I will give him will become in Him a well of water springing up to everlasting life.”  We called attention last week that there are two benefits of coming to Jesus and drinking.  For those who drink the life of Jesus, like He told the woman, they’re going to have a spring inside them bubbling up to everlasting life, everlasting contentment, a spring inside, a fountain in the heart.  But then in this chapter it says that those who drink from Christ will not only have a fountain inside, but will have rivers flowing out of that life.  I pointed out last week that it’s not even “river”.  It doesn’t say that a river will flow out.  It’s plural; rivers of living water.  So, if you’re enjoying the Lord and living a Christian life, you should have a fountain within and rivers of life flowing without, a fountain within to satisfy your thirst and rivers flowing out to satisfy the thirst of all those in the circle of your influence in the world.  That’s what we looked at last time.

I want to continue looking at that.  I’m going to read it again, but I’m going to start at verse 37, “On the last day, the great day of feast, Jesus stood and cried out saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.”’  But this He spoke of the Spirit whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

I want to revisit the Bible study principle that we looked at last week.  We were discussing what place does extra-biblical have?  In other words, something that is not written in the Bible, but it’s culture and it’s background and it’s tradition and it’s ceremony.  What place does that extra-biblical source have when you’re reading and trying to understand the Bible?  Should we just ignore it?  Should we trust it?  What should our approach be?  We read about the Jewish culture and there is so much.  They have habits and ceremonies of hospitality and how to raise children and courtship and marriage and celebrations of different feasts and what they did.  We learn how they dressed and how they cooked and how they farmed and how they shepherded.  There’s a lot that’s not in the Bible, but it’s their culture and background.  Some would go so far as to say, “You’ve got to think like the Hebrew; you’ve got to get into their shoes.  If you don’t know their background and don’t know where that’s coming from, you can’t understand the Bible.”

The principle that I established last week, to my entire satisfaction, and maybe some won’t agree with this, but here is my understanding of the place of extra-biblical sources.  Extra-biblical sources are helpful to illustrate Bible truth, but it must never be used to interpret Bible truth.  Everything I need to know about the Bible is in the Bible.  Everything you need to know about the Bible is in the Bible.  Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit you will have everything you will need to know. However, extra sources might illustrate the truth, but they can’t interpret.

I want to use these verses, John 7:37-39 that I read and I want to illustrate the principle I showed you last time.  I want to show you how extra-biblical sources illustrate, and I’m going to use the source and show how it illustrates the truth.  Then I’m going to show you how it tried to interpret, and it messed up the scripture; it can’t be used to interpret.  We’re going to do that, apply that to this particular verse.

First, let me give a legitimate use of extra-biblical sources.  I am going to quote Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi.  Anybody know who he is?  He’s in the Talmud; he’s a source.  It’s a Jewish source.  He speaks on this tabernacle, this feast.  I’m going to read, this is his background and it’s not in the Bible, this is what he said took place on the last day.  “They had the ceremony drawing and pouring water attended with the usual rejoicing, as on other days.  The pouring out of the water after this manner—a golden pot which held three logs filled out of Shiloh, and when they came to the water gate, they blew their trumpet and they shouted and they blew.  Then a priest went up by the ascent of the altar and turned his left hand where there were two silver basins.  On the west side it was filled with water, and on the east with wine.  He then poured the basin of water into the wine, and then the wine into the water, at which time there was great rejoicing, piping, dancing, and the most religious and sober among the Jews danced the most, in as much as it is said, ‘He that never saw the rejoicing and the place of drawing water, never saw rejoicing in his whole life.’”  That is extra-biblical.  All of that is not in the Bible.

Here is how Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi interpreted it; this is not my interpretation.  He gave the tradition and here is how he interpreted it.  I’m quoting him, “And this ceremony, they say, is a tradition from Moses on Mt. Sinai and refers to some secret, mysterious thing, and they plainly say that it has respect to the pouring forth of the Holy Ghost.”  Says Rabbi Joshua Ben Levi, “Why is the name called ‘the place of drawing’?  Because from thence they drew the Holy Ghost.  He is poured.  As it is said, ‘You shall draw water with joy out of the wells of salvation.’  And he quotes Isaiah 12:2.  This is his interpretation, “Here is the history, pouring; they poured water on the altar, they poured wine.  According to the Talmud, that’s a picture of pouring out the Holy Spirit.”  Well, if that actually did happen, it fits in with John’s explanation, John 7:39, “This He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive, for the Spirit was not yet given because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  In other words, it’s legitimate if that pouring pictures out the pouring of the Spirit, it’s a good illustration.  It doesn’t interpret anything.  Pouring of the Holy Spirit is very Biblical.  You remember Joel 2:28, “It will come about after this, I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind.  Your sons and daughters will prophecy, and your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.  Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.”  So, pouring illustrates pouring.  That’s a legitimate use of extra-Biblical tradition.

But that ceremony that was described by the Rabbi cannot interpret Jesus when He said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink, and out of his belly will flow rivers of living water.”  The only connection would be water/thirst.  You can’t interpret that marvelous statement by something in tradition.  Verse 37, “The last day of the feast, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.’” Water poured out does not illustrate satisfaction from drinking from Christ.  But there is a scriptural allusion here, and it’s not extra-Biblical; it’s from the Bible.

In order to get to it I want to just step back and for many of you it’s just a review.  What John has been doing ever since chapter one, John is dealing with those who were very familiar with the Old Testament; they were familiar with the Bible.  They were Jews; they were scholars and students.  He was trying to make Himself known as Messiah.  He loved them and He saw them as sinners who needed to be saved.  He wanted to reveal Himself.  What he did in every chapter so far, and you’ll see it as we go on, He dipped in the Bible and said, “You are familiar with that, and that’s Me.”

Let me show you, chapter by chapter, all the way to chapter 7.  I’m not going to quote all of the verses, but I think you’ll recognize them.  In chapter one, John says, “I know you believe in the Creator, and in the beginning, God created heaven and earth,” and then he said, “Let me introduce Myself; that’s Me, and I am the Creator.  All things were made by the Word, and not one thing was made that wasn’t made.”  Then you come to the end of the chapter, and He says, “You remember when I was speaking to Nathaniel, and Nathaniel was meditating on Jacob’s Ladder.  You know that story; God was at the top longing to bless, and at the bottom was a sinner needing to be blessed, and there needed to be a connection.  How do you get a God who wants to bless to bless a sinner?  So, there was a ladder that went in between them.  Let me introduce myself; I am that ladder, and hereafter you’ll see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  He keeps identifying Himself.

In chapter 2 He says, “You remember the first miracle Moses ever did?  He turned water into blood.  That’s a miracle of judgment.  Do you know the first miracle I did?  I turned water into wine.  That’s a miracle of mercy.  It’s Me; I’m the Messiah, and you’ve got to come and believe in Me.  Nicodemus, do you remember the story of the servant lifted up in the wilderness with all those snake-bitten sinners all they had to do was look and live?  Well, that’s Me.  I’m Christ and I’m going to be lifted up and anybody who just looks in simple faith and lives shall have eternal life.  We come to the next chapter, this is Jacob’s well, and Jacob’s well is a cistern that often runs dry.  I’m a living well that never runs dry, and I’ll be a well in your heart.  It’s Me.”  He keeps going back to the scriptures and showing that it’s Himself. 

In the next chapter, chapter 5, He said, “I’m not only the Creator, and I’m not only Jacob’s ladder, and I’m not only the serpent on the pole, and I’m not only the well of living water, but they had a problem with the Sabbath.  He said, “Don’t you know who I am?  I am the Lord of the Sabbath.”  They said, “But we want the scriptures.”  He said, “Don’t you know that the scriptures testify of Me?  You study the scriptures but you won’t come to Me, that you might have life.”  It’s the same thing in the next chapter.  They said, “We’re Moses’ people, and Moses gave us manna in the wilderness.”  Jesus said, “This is not bread from heaven.  They ate and died.  I’m going to give you bread from heaven; I am the living bread.”  In every case He dipped down into the Bible and He showed that it was Himself.

Is there an Old Testament story that illustrates “rivers of living water coming out of the people of God”?  There is.  I believe it’s Exodus 17:6, “Behold, I’ll stand before you there on a rock, and you shall strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”  Every chapter in John he does the same thing, “Let Me introduce Myself; I am the Creator, I am Jacob’s ladder, I am the One lifted up on the pole, I am the Lord of the Sabbath, and the scriptures testify of Me, and I’m the bread of life,” and now John 7:37, “The last day of the great day of the feast Jesus stood and cried, saying, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the scripture says, ‘Out of his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’”  Exodus 17:6, “Strike the rock, and water will come out of it, that the people may drink.”  Interesting comment, that water will come out.  Did it come out?  Psalm 114:7, “Tremble, oh earth, before the Lord, before the God of Jacob who turned the rock into a pool of water, and the flint into a fountain of water.”  Did it come out?  It became a pool of water, a fount.  Psalm 78:20, “Behold, he struck the rock so that waters gushed out and streams were overflowing.”  Did it come out?  Psalm 105:41, “He opened the rock, and water flowed out, and it ran in the dry places like a river.”  Did it come out?  Psalm 78:15, “He split the rocks in the wilderness, and he gave them abundant drink, like the ocean depths, and brought forth streams also from the rock, and caused water to run down like rivers.”  It’s plural.  This is more than a pool and more than a fountain and it’s more than a stream and it’s more than a brook and it’s more than a river.  Isaiah 48:21, “They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts. He made the water flow out of the rock for them; he split the rock and the water gushed forth.”

Don’t just read this la, la, la.  When Moses struck the rock, that water flowed out of the rock for thirty-eight years.  Everywhere they went they had water.  They never thirsted all through the wilderness; you never hear them crying again for thirst all through the wilderness.  They had enough water for their flocks, for their own thirst, for their herds, water for bathing, for cooking, for washing clothes and even water for swimming.  They had water, water, water.  If there ever was a picture of what Jesus is saying, “I will satisfy your thirst and out of your belly will flow rivers of living water.”  Everywhere they went on their pilgrim journey there were rivers and brooks and streams.  The manna came only once a day, but these brooks flowed, not just for five hours or ten hours or a week or a month or a year, but thirty-eight years.  The last time we read about them complaining is when He shut the spigot off so that He could teach the same lesson to the second generation.  So, in the thirty-eighth year he said, “Now it’s a living rock, so you need to speak to it,” and he was trying to teach the second generation.  So, at Rephidim there’s an Old Testament picture of this beautiful statement that our Lord Jesus made.  He’s the water of life and He will become in you rivers of water.  1 Corinthians 10:4, “All drank the same spiritual drink; they were drinking from a spiritual rock that followed them, and that rock was Christ.”  That’s an explanation and there’s no extra-biblical source that can give you the picture that that rock gives when it shows that Christ will give you rivers of living water.  Drawing vessels from the Pool of Siloam and pouring water and pouring wine is not going to picture what that rock pictured; that’s the explanation.

At this point I think I’m going to take a theological bypass; I think it’s important.  Go back to John’s statement in verse 39, “This He spoke of the Spirit whom those who had believed in Him were to receive.”  Some have been puzzled because the Lord Jesus seemed to invite people to Himself.  In verse 37 He said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink,” and in verse 38, “He who believes in Me, from his innermost being will flow rivers of water.”  It looks like the Lord is presenting Himself, the Lord Jesus, as the living water, the water of eternal life, but then when He gives the explanation in verse 39, “This He spoke of the Spirit.”  Some would ask, “Well, is it Jesus or is it the Spirit?  It would appear that the Spirit was the fountain that He gave to the woman at the well because He said, ‘If you knew who it is who it is who speaks to you and the gift He wants to give you,’ so that gift would be the Holy Spirit, and it would appear again here in this chapter that He’s speaking of the Spirit that will give the living water. 

There’s no contradiction.  We read Galatians 2:20 and we say, “It’s not longer I who lives but Christ lives in me.”  And we read also Colossians 1:27, “The great mystery that was given which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”  At the same time we read 1 Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God?  You are not your own.”  Then in Romans 8:9, “You are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he doesn’t belong to Him.”  So, we say, “Well, the Bible is clear; Jesus lives in Me.  The Bible is clear; the Holy Spirit lives in Me.”  Let me add to the mystery.  John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word, and the Father will love him and will come to him and make our abode with him.”  Now the Father is in there.  Jesus said, “Me and the Father are going to come and live inside of you.”  So, who lives in your heart?  Dear Christian, is it the Father, is it the Son, is it the Holy Spirit, is it all three; does all the Godhead live in your heart?  The answer is, “Exactly so; God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Let me say right up front that there is no jealousy in the Godhead.  I’ll tell you why I said that.  It’s because some are in bondage to a formula.  They say, for example, “When you pray, you’ve got to pray to God the Father, and you’ve got to pray in the name of the Son, and you’ve got to pray by the power of the Holy Spirit, and don’t change that order.”  I used to teach in a little Bible school in Newport, Rhode Island, and the president of the school called me aside one time and he said, “I need to check with you on something because I actually heard you address the Holy Spirit in your prayer, and at other times I heard you address Jesus.  You are confusing the students.  We want them to know that they pray to God the Father and they pray in the name of Jesus and they pray in the power of the Holy Spirit.”  I was in good company because I think Stephen made the same mistake that I made in Acts 7:59, “They went on stoning Stephen as he called on the Lord and said, ‘Lord, Jesus, receive my spirit.’”  Steve, you shouldn’t pray to Jesus, but he did.  I’m amazed at the inconsistency of that kind of thinking, because they can sing, which are prayers.  They sing prayers and address Jesus, “My Jesus I love Thee.”  They don’t have a problem with that.  “Rock of Ages.”  They don’t have a problem singing; that’s a prayer.  They are addressing the Lord Jesus.  They can sing, “Breathe on me breath of God”.  They are addressing the Holy Spirit.  “Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me.”  We sing to the Holy Spirit, and we sing to the Lord Jesus.  Again, there’s no jealousy in the Godhead.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, pull out the stops, and believe it with all your heart, you can call the Lord on any name or any title that He has and He’s going to respond to you.  He’s the Lord, and you have all of Him in your heart.

I want to answer two questions, then, that is connected with this.  Again, I think it’s important.  The first is if we are to look to Jesus, why is there so much emphasis on the Holy Spirit indwelling us?  Why does He keep calling attention that we are temples of the Holy Spirit?  After that, I’ll try to answer the question, “Why are we told to keep our eyes on Jesus and not the Father, to keep our eyes on Jesus and not look to the Holy Spirit?”  I’m going to try to answer those two questions. 

Hebrews 12 you know is running the race with your eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus. The first question is why is there so much emphasis on the indwelling Holy Spirit?  Let me illustrate and then state it clearly.  1 Corinthians 2:11, “Who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him?  Even so, the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”  I’m going to try to get real technical.  Sometimes we say, “I have a body, I have a soul and I have a spirit.”  That’s not technically accurate because you don’t have a spirit.  You are a spirit; that’s who you are, and that’s who I am.  I am a spirit.  James clearly states it in James 2:26, “Just as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.”  When your spirit dies, listen to Ecclesiastes 12:7, “The dust will return to the earth as it was, the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  You know that if you had my spirit you would know what I’m thinking right now.  I’m going to think something.  You would know if you had my spirit.  If I had your spirit I’d know what you are thinking. That’s God’s argument.  He said, “Who knows the mind of the Lord?  Only the Spirit of God knows the mind of the Lord, and you have His Spirit; you have the mind of Christ.”  That’s exactly the argument that He’s using.

John 4:24, “God is Spirit; those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth.”  1 Corinthians 2:12, “We’ve received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we might know the things freely given to us by God.”  The reason that God emphasizes the Holy Spirit is because that’s His life; God is Spirit.  Your spirit is you, and His Spirit is Him, and you have Him, His Spirit in your heart, all of God.  We don’t just divide Him up and somebody has 20% and somebody has a greater percentage; everyone of us has all of God.  That’s the word “shekinah”, when you can take all of God and put Him in one place, that’s the shekinah cloud.  You have the shekinah glory living in your heart.  That’s not different than saying that Jesus lives in my heart.  Listen to Romans 8:9, “However, you are not in flesh, but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you.  But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ,” you see the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ is exactly the same thing, and the next verse says, “If Christ be in you…”  Galatians 4:6, “Because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of His Son,” that’s Jesus, “into our hearts crying ‘Abba, Father.’”  So, it’s only technical.  You say, “Jesus lives in me, the Holy Spirit lives in me.”  It’s the same thing.  The emphasis is on the Holy Spirit because He’s calling attention to the life of God.

Why are we instructed to look to Jesus?  The answer is this, and this is theology, but I hope God makes it life.  In God’s revelation of Himself to men, He has made Christ central in the Godhead.  In other words, there is not other way to know God except through Christ.  That’s the only way we’ll ever know.  That was His humility to come down and to take on a human form forever and ever.  That decision was not thirty-three and a half years; it goes on for all the ages of eternity.  The only way I can know the Father is by knowing Jesus.  That’s what He told Philip, “If you’ve seen Me, you’ve seen the Father.”  If I try to look to the Father, I neglect the Father.  If I try to look to the Spirit, I frustrate the Spirit because the Spirit is trying to get me to look to Christ.  In God’s revelation of Himself to us He has made Christ central, and the only way not to neglect the Father and not to neglect the Holy Spirit is to keep your eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus Christ.  The more time you spend trying to know the other members of the Godhead, the further away you’re going to get from knowing them.  We’ll know God by knowing our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we get ready to wrap it up, I want to come back to the chapter.  John 7 and the feast of booths.  This message that was illustrated by the smitten rock, that Jesus shouted at the top of His lungs, “Out of your being will flow rivers of living waters,” is not a new message.  I want to give an Old Testament illustration, and what a precious one.  Anyone who knows the record would immediately go back to that.  Is there a picture in the Old Testament of His people, His church, His body, His temple, where waters are flowing out?  Ezekiel 47:1-12; I’m not going to take time to read it, but it’s a picture of the house of God, His temple, but the house cannot contain what’s in it.  So, it starts to leak out because it’s just too much.  Ezekiel 47:1, “He brought me back to the door of the house, and behold, water was flowing from under the threshold of the house toward the east, for the house faced east, and the water was flowing down from under, from the right side of the house, from the south of the altar.”  The temple of God was filled and now coming out was water.  Now, in the vision the angel actually took Ezekiel into the water, and in verse 3 he had water up to his ankles.  Then the angel measured a quarter of a mile and they went downstream a quarter of a mile, and then the Bible says in verse 4 that he was up to his knees.  Then the angel measured another quarter of a mile and they went downstream.  Then the Bible says that he was up to his loins.  Then they measured another quarter of a mile and they went downstream.  Verse 5, “Waters to swim in, waters that could not be thwarted.”  This is an amazing picture, the temple of God and water coming out and it’s getting deeper and deeper and deeper, but there are no tributaries; there are no streams running in and no rivers running in and no rain coming down to fill it and there’s not melting snow.  It’s just getting deeper and deeper and deeper.  I think the most important verse is Ezekiel 47:6, “He said to me, ‘Son of man, have you seen this?’  Then he brought me back to the bank of the river.” 

I don’t know where you are in your walk with Jesus.  Are you up to your ankles?  Are you up to your knees?  Are you up to your loins?  Are you over your head?  Waters to swim in and waters that can’t be thwarted?  What you saw here was the rescue of Ezekiel.  He was about to be swept away by the life of God that was flowing out from the temple.  He was about to drown, and the angel took him and put him on the bank and said, “I want you to see your Christian life, but not from inside the water; you’ll be swallowed up.  I want you to be a spectator and I want you to stand on the bank and watch what I can do through you.”  It’s a glorious experience.  Brothers and sisters in Christ, to be able to stand on the bank and watch what happens, and we’ll see through Ezekiel.  If it wasn’t for that water flow, Ezekiel would be a dead man. 

Ezekiel 47:8, “These waters go out toward the western region, and they go down into the Arabah, and go down toward the sea, being made to flow into the sea, and the waters of the sea become fresh.”  Where were those waters heading?  The answer is to the Dead Sea.  Several weeks ago our dear sister Leslie gave my Lillian and I a souvenir that they got when they went to the Holy Land, and especially they went down to the Jordan.  I don’t know if you can see it; it’s Dead Sea salt.  Those are salt balls that are the size of marbles, and they’re all on the bottom of the Dead Sea.  It’s an amazing thing, and the point is that the Dead Sea is full of sulfur and brine and salt, and nothing can live there; it’s dead and it’s called the Dead Sea.  Listen to Ezekiel 47:10, “It will come about that the fishermen will stand beside it from Engedi to Eneglaim; there will be a place for casting of net.  The fish will be according to their kind, like the fish of the great sea, like the Mediterranean.”  God said that there are going to be so many fish in the Dead Sea that fishing communities are going to build up all around the Dead Sea, and enough to cast nets, and so many fish because the water is coming. 

Ezekiel 47:7, “I return on the bank of the river there were many trees, one side and the other.”  This might sound a little like heaven, but listen to verse 12, “By the river on the bank on one side and on the other will grow all kinds of trees for food, and their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail; they will bear every month because their water flows from the sanctuary; their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”  Recognize that?  This is an amazing vision.  Out of the temple of God, out of the people of God, out of you, out of me, rivers of living water, and the rivers are going right down to the Dead Sea and it’s going to make it into fresh water.  What a picture this is!  Listen to verse 9, “It will come about every living creature which swarms in every place the river goes will live.”  Everything the river touches comes to life.  That’s your life, if you are standing on the shore.  Otherwise, you are just trying to tread water and survive.  But if God will bring you to the shore where you can watch what God does through you, your life will become a river, and everything it touches, every place you go, everyone you come in contact with, it’s going to give life, it’s going life.  It’s going to make the trees blossom and the trees bear fruit, and it’s going to make the Dead Sea fresh water.

Let me summarize these two things as we close.  Again, praise God for water up to the ankles and up to the knees and up to the loins.  We’ve all been through that.  We’re in the deeper life.  We’re going on in a deeper life, but then one glorious day, may God do it quickly, He takes us out and this is the life of God, “I want you to watch what God can do through you,” and you stand on the bank and it’s amazing.  You see the trees blossom and you see lives change and you see the Dead  Sea becoming fresh water, and you see life, life, life wherever you look. 

My last suggestion is this, don’t ever give up on anybody.  I don’t care how deep in sin they are and I don’t care how entangled they are and how messed up their lives, don’t give up on anybody because that’s the goal; the water goes right to the Dead Sea.  Nothing could be deader than the Dead Sea.  I forget how many feet below sea level, but it’s the lowest place on earth, and God sends His living water to the lowest place on earth.  Life is in you, and it’s in me.  All of God is in you, “Come to Me and drink, and out of your innermost being will flow life-giving water.”  May God help us see it! 

Father, thank You for Your word, and not for what we think it might mean but everything that You know it means and what You’ve inspired it to mean.  We ask You to work that in our heart.  We thank You that You are doing it and You are going to continue to do it.  We pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.