Does this sound wonderful? “A river with the water of life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb.” Most of the rivers we encounter these days are murky and often times smelly. The water of life, referring to eternal life is perpetually flowing without fear of pollution or running dry. Jesus referred to this “water of life” when he was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. Remember his words, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”
We do know who is preparing this for us. We know the source of this living water. It is flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb. We will be forever nourished by the water and the fruit of the tree of life. It’s like the circle has completed itself. The tree of life was in the garden when Adam and Eve fell into temptation. They and their ancestors were banned from the blessings of this tree because of the curse of evil. In the end, evil has been demolished and all will be restored to what was originally intended.
I don’t want to rush past the beautiful conclusion to the last book of the Bible. The promises of these few verses are immense. God has an amazing future planned for us. In these opening verses we read that our new community, the New Jerusalem, will be “like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” We have all been wow-ed by a bride on her wedding day as she cascades down the aisle to her groom waiting at the altar. So much preparation has gone in to that moment.
So, too, God is preparing for the moment of his great reveal. He is waiting for the perfect time for all those he has loved so much from a distance to finally be brought into his presence. There is no way to truly express the beauty of this elaborate moment when God’s extravagant love for us is fully revealed. We just don’t have the words to fully describe the majesty. It is the precious moment when the time comes for “God himself will be with them.” With us. Don’t rush past this image. God himself! With us!
What a beautiful passage of hope. This is one that we should read over and over again when we are feeling overwhelmed by our circumstances. What kind of faith do you have? Finish this sentence: “I believe in God, so I ______.” You may recognize that from our text today. Paul, like the psalmist believed in God so he “spoke.” When we put our faith and trust in God, we have so much more power to work with. I believe in God so I wrote a book would be one thing I could say.
We’re only given so much time on earth to do what we are called
to do. This text calls it right out. Our bodies are dying. But we don’t need to
live like we’re dying. Our spirits are being “renewed every day.” How
do you refresh yourself? Spending time in God’s word, in prayer, and seeking
his will for your life should give you plenty of refreshment. That’s why it’s
so important to not just “go through the motions.” Don’t put spending time with
God as just another “to-do list” item. Doesn’t God deserve your best?
Jesus knew that he was ruffling feathers. He was upsetting the status quo. In some cases, Jesus was making the Pharisees and religious leaders look ridiculous. Not on purpose, but because the truth reveals the darkness and hardened hearts. The people were oppressed by the government. There was fear. People were waiting for their promised Savior to come rescue them.
Then Jesus arrives on the scene. He had followers. He was healing people all over the place. He was proclaiming the Good News. It must have seemed too good to be true. But Jesus wasn’t the first to come along. Satan has used false prophets throughout history to throw people off, to lure them away from the truth. We can see evidence of that still today. We are still a people in need of a Savior.
All of us are struggling with something. Maybe it’s getting older, maybe it’s weight issues, maybe it’s relationship issues, maybe it’s financial issues. Sometimes we feel like all we do is face an uphill battle. One step forward and then two steps back. If you can identify, this passage is for you.
We are not alone in our struggles. We read today that “all creation” eagerly waits and has been groaning in pains of childbirth. For all who know God and his beautiful gift of salvation, we wait in anticipation of something beyond our comprehension. The saying, “this, too, shall pass” should be on our lips.