Ezekiel 47 is my favourite Old Testament chapter, and probably one of the most life-giving chapters in the Bible.
The Angel takes the Prophet deeper and deeper into the River of God which flows from the Sanctuary, first ankle-deep, then knee-deep, then waist-deep, and finally, deep into the “river no one could cross.” All one can do was glide in its currents, and let the river take us where it wills. The River has us.
I stop and wonder where I am in this Holy River. I am still an amphibian, rather than a salmon. I can clamber out on to shore and croak, but I am happiest swimming in its holy rapids
When I am on shore too long, not breathing in the wild life of God through the gills of my soul, I get bored and restless. I shrivel; I miss the exhilarating currents of the river directing me. And, oh what relief and joy it is to return to the unpredictable holy river of the Spirit, full of ideas, and sweetness and direction and insight and let its currents take me where they will.
Where the river empties into the Dead Sea, the water there becomes fresh.
Sometimes my heart feels as old as the sea. Salty. Not much joy in it. Nothing fresh. Same old, same old, same old salt.
Tired salt. Living has temporarily lost its savour.
Ah, there is only one cure for this old salty heart which has lost enthusiasm: the bubbling spirit of God—en theos–within it.
And that is to once again position itself in the river, and let the river of God, the blessed Holy Spirit thoroughly pour through my soul, irrigate it, and make it fresh again.
And so I return to the waterfall. And in returning and in rest, I am saved. In quietness and in confidence is my strength.
I return. I rest. I ask for the fountain to again pour into this bored, cold, weary, sad, distracted, unfocused soul.
And slowly, in a trickle, then a stream, then a rivulet, and sometimes a mighty river, grace irrigates my soul again.
I am enthusiastic—filled with theos, with God—again.
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And the life-giving river brings life to us—and even a livelihood, the best kind!!—wherever it flows!
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; The fish will be of many kinds
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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.
Love this! The fruit trees which grow by the river are continuously fruitful. They bear fruit every month, because they are nourished by the water of the sanctuary.
Do you know of a tree which bears fruit every month? I don’t. It’s against the normal process of nature which requires budding and flowering before fruiting. But sometimes, God gives that supernatural instantaneous creativity, all at once as when Aaron’s staff, not only sprouted but had budded, blossomed and produced almonds overnight. (Num. 17:8). (And here are some secular creative examples—Milton, Rilke and Blake.)
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And therein lies the secret of creativity without fatigue, creativity without burnout. Continuously positioning yourself in the waterfall of the God’s presence and power. Letting the Holy Spirit fill you. Returning to the waterfall when you are weary and heavy-laden and resting. Letting it restore your soul.
Letting God download ideas and sparkle and iridescence and life and joy and energy from his amazing crashing waterfall into your hungry soul, until you are full, you are full, and the joy and energy from the presence of God is still flowing, overflowing, splashing all those around you with the life which the Father is pouring, still pouring into your soul.
And these evergreen trees, whose leaves never wither, whose fruit does not fail, are a blessing. Their leaves provide healing, their fruit is food, because they are nourished and fed from the very best springs, the water from the sanctuary.
As a Christian writer learns to position herself in the waterfall of God’s presence, and power and ideas, she is in touch with an eternal source of wisdom, intelligence, beauty, ideas and creativity. And so she will never run dry.
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I have been fascinated with the passage for the last three years, and have been going deeper into it—ankle-deep, knee-deep, and now waist-deep and still wading.
R. T. Kendall in his book called “The Anointing,” says the Holy Spirit flowing through you, enables you to do what you could not on your own. But without fatigue, without strain
As I shared, I was in the audience when Mark Stibbe prayed for an anointing to write on us.
And I have received it. I have written almost double of what I used to, without fatigue, without strain. Returned to the memoir I had abandoned. Page views and unique visitors are at a height. And I think I’ve written some good posts.
And to continue writing like this, I will need to continually position myself in the waterfall of God’s presence, and power and ideas. In God’s Niagara which will never run dry.
Anita Mathias says
Yes, when I do go for a “prayer walk” I almost always come back with an idea for a blog post.
The waterfall here was metaphorical, though, the river in Ezekiel 47.
I love what you said about going back to the waterfall. I often remember Isaac who was out in the fields meditating in the evening when Rebecca arrived. I get so much refreshment from going out for a walk and thinking and praying, and it gives me inspiration for blogging more than anything else!