When it empties into the Sea, the water there becomes fresh. 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. Ezek 47:8-9
The first part of Ezekiel 47 is an incredible picture. First the prophet sees a little trickle coming out from under the temple door, but very quickly the trickle grows to a huge rushing river, and then it flows eastward to the sea.
If you look at a map, to the east of Jerusalem is the Dead Sea. If you’ve ever been to the Dead Sea, you know that it is beautiful, in an eerie sort of way. As you drive down the highway beside it, the surface shimmers with a gorgeous reflection of the hills beyond. When you come closer, you marvel at the clarity of the water. When you actually enter the water, be careful to wear shoes, or you may cut your feet on the sharp spots. The shores and bottom are crystallized salt, deposits from the water, which is saturated with salt and other minerals. Then you begin to realize why the water seems so clear–there is nothing living in it. No fish, no seaweed, no discernible algae, no grass on the banks, even. Nothing. Just water and salt.
Bathing in the Dead Sea is a unique experience because you simply can’t sink to the bottom. In fact, it’s quite entertaining to watch an unwary tourist bounding into the water, because suddenly their feet float out from under them and they topple! And if you happen to be careless enough to get the water in your mouth, it is horribly bitter.
THIS is the sea the prophet was talking about–this sea where absolutely nothing lives. And when the River flowed into it, it became alive, teeming with fish, its banks lined with trees that produce new fruit each month. Everything will live where the river goes. Isn’t that just an amazing thought? That those jagged, salty shores could be covered by fruit trees, that empty, sterile-looking water swarming with fish and plants?
In that same way, the blood of Jesus, beginning as only a trickle on Calvary, has become a river of life that sweeps down into the lifeless sea of humanity, able to redeem and bring new life to everyone that it touches. Lives that were empty and cold can become vibrant and pulsing with life. People who have borne no fruit can blossom into trees that are constantly loaded with ripe fruit ready to share with passersby.
Have you looked at the life you’re living lately? Are you alive, or are you one of the walking dead? That sea of humanity, though it looks lovely and attractive from a distance, is actually treacherous. As you you carelessly wander in, it sweeps you off your feet, and you lose control. When you taste the water, the bitterness is awful! And the very worst part is that nothing, nothing is alive there. The things that you thought at first were lively and entertaining turn out to be hollow and counterfeit. The beautiful rocks cut you when you touch them.
Interesting side note: I discovered that the Dead Sea is sometimes called Lake Sodom. According to Arabic tradition, when Sodom was destroyed for the sins of its people, it was taken up in the air, then thrown to the earth with such force that the land sank, creating the sea. And in reality, the shoreline around the Dead Sea is the lowest dry land in the world, at 1,378 feet below sea level. Water runs into it, but nothing ever goes out. It is a dead end. You cannot go lower. No wonder the water is so bitter.
Are you in a dead end? Learn to know Jesus! He is the river that can make you alive for the very first time! Let His living water flow into your life.