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R&V In the Word: Let the Living Water Flow

Image: Diego Madrigal

Read Ezekiel 47:1-12 MSG

But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.

Ezekiel 47:12 MSG

Sunday is the day I water my houseplants. That seems to be enough, because I’ve been at it with them for over two years now, and everyone seems to be staying as happy as houseplants can be. Although we’re in Ohio’s verdant summer months, the green outside won’t last long. Our houseplants persist year round, offering signs of life when everything else submits to the turn of the seasons. I love that extra pop of color and oxygenated air they bring.

And without me, their leaves would wither and fade.

In the verses preceding the passage above, Ezekiel describes a vision of water rushing from the base of the Temple to the east, flowing 1,500 feet, then 3,000, then 4,500 feet, then 6,000, growing deeper and deeper, from ankle-deep to too deep to touch. The water from the Temple turned salt water to fresh. The stream transformed the landscape. It made fruit trees flourish so that the community would thrive.

That water, pouring from the Source, was living water, water that moves and by moving changes things.

The prophecies of Ezekiel were written about 600 years before the time of Christ. Jesus had this to say about Living Water: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Rivers of living water will brim and spill out of the depths of anyone who believes in me this way, just as the Scripture says” (John 7:38 MSG).

And Paul had this to say about the Temple: “You realize, don’t you, that you are the temple of God, and God himself is present in you? No one will get by with vandalizing God’s temple, you can be sure of that. God’s temple is sacred—and you, remember, are the temple” (1 Corinthians 3:16 MSG).

What Ezekiel saw centuries before Jesus was a vision of flourishing. Water transforms and renews. Water restores and replenishes. As the place where God was thought to reside, the Temple was the source of all life.

But when Jesus spoke of living water, he said that it would rise from within us. The temple of God is us. Streams of living water can spill out of our hearts, restoring and replenishing, transforming and renewing all life around us.

It can start with houseplants. But why not let the well of love, compassion, and mercy flow from the Source within me, over the feet of my immediate family, up to the knees of my neighbors, so that even the strangers and foreigners 6,000 feet away from me might be engulfed in God’s love? With so much tenderness and empathy flowing in the world, perhaps we would see greater abundance. Perhaps we would taste richer fruit. Perhaps we would be healed.

Let the Living Water flow.

Points of Reflection

  1. How can you allow the Living Water of Jesus to flow from within you to bring nourishment and healing to those around you? What practical steps can you take to ensure that your life becomes a source of transformation and renewal for your family, neighbors, and even strangers?
  2. Considering the imagery of the fruit trees in Ezekiel 47:12 that bear fresh fruit every month. What areas of your life need the rejuvenating touch of God’s Living Water to produce continual growth and fruitfulness? How can you cultivate a daily connection with the Source to sustain this spiritual vitality throughout all seasons of your life?

For the Kids

  1. In Ezekiel 47:12, the Bible talks about trees that grow lots of fruit and have leaves that never wither because they are watered by a special river. How can you share God’s love and kindness with your friends and family to help them feel happy and loved, just like the trees that always have fruit?
  2. Jesus said that those who believe in Him will have rivers of living water flowing from their hearts. Can you think of ways you can show Jesus’ love and care to others at school or in your neighborhood? What are some small acts of kindness you can do to make a big difference?


Our local streams and rivers are vital for replenishing our groundwater and reservoirs. They serve as local habitats for wildlife and contribute to the necessary biodiversity of local ecosystems. They are also delightful places of respite and peace. Take an afternoon to walk alongside or even in a local river or creek. Bring a trash bag and gloves with you to collect any trash littering the waterway. Spend some time meditating on the goodness of God, how His love flows like streams of living water, in and through each of us.


This year, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge celebrates its 100th anniversary. The refuge protects more than 240,000 acres of river floodplain and provides space for plants, animals, and humans to thrive. The refuge was the dream and work of one man a century ago, who sought to protect the river he loved the most from encroaching development. Will Dilg is an inspiration for others who see the value and importance of protecting our streams and rivers, not just for our enjoyment but for our survival.

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