Anglican morning Devotion for 22 June 2021 Anno domini
A ministry of the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And it shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth, whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed; and every thing shall live whither the river cometh.” (Ezekiel 47:9) all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Rivers have illustrated the abundance of life in Holy Scripture. The Creator God has placed many rivers in the midst of civilizations that yield all manner of marine life providing food for the fisherman, transport for the traveler, and power for industry. If we are careful in the search, we can find that there are rivers that illustrate the nature of God’s plan for us.
There was a river in the paradise of God in Eden that first gave nurturing water to the plants thereof. “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden;…” (Genesis 2:10) The Psalmist also speaks of a River of Life: “There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. 5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.” (Psalms 46:4-5) That river seems to fit the same description of another river related by John:
“And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. 2In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:1-2) As we see, the Tree of Life was removed from earth and returned to Heaven.
In my younger years, I was posted to Iran (old Persia) to facilitate the military flight training program for the Iranian defense forces. I had ample opportunity to fly over many parts of that beautiful land including deserts and snow-capped mountains. I was impressed by a small river that cascaded down the slopes from the melting snows of the Zagross mountains down through the city of Esfahan and across the desert beyond. Its waters were refreshingly cold in a desert land, and pure as crystal. The length of the river (104 miles) was similar to that of the Jordan River (156 miles). Flying over the arid desert east of Esfahan, one could easily trace the route of the river as it meandered across the almost lifeless landscape. It presented a wide band of green vegetation everywhere it went providing life-giving water to all along its way. Typical of its nature, the river was called the Zayanderud – meaning Giver of Life. How like our Lord Jesus Christ is that river! He gave life everywhere He went, and He lived a very brief life of 33 years – similar to the limited reach of the river.
The similarities to the life of Christ do not end with the above observation. The river proceeds to a dead sea in the desert wilderness called Gav-Khuni (meaning the blood of an Ox). Why does it have such a name? It is due to the peculiar coloration of the water. From the air above, it appears emerald green; but when standing on its shoreline, it appears blood red. Like the river, Christ died in the wilderness of our sins. It was His blood that purchased our redemption so that the blood of the ox, lamb, or goat was of no avail.
Those who hear His voice have been invited to drink freely of the Water of Life. Have you heard the calling? Have you responded to that call? “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning Star. 17And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:16-17)