Ezekiel 47:5: Again he measured a thousand, and it was a river that I could not pass through, for the water had risen. It was deep enough to swim in, a river that could not be passed through. (ESV)
A river is a picture of movement, power, and life.
In the focus verse, we see Ezekiel being taken through the river, and as time goes on, the level of the water reaches higher and higher on his body (Ezekiel 47).
While in the river, movement forward is aided by the flow of the water. We are able to cover more distance going with the flow than against the flow. That is the way it is when we yield to or do not yield to the Holy Spirit. To move against the flow of the water is to waste energy.
The flow of the Holy Spirit is about the direction he is leading. David prayed to God: for your name sake lead me and guide me (Psalm 31:3). In the battles that he was involved in, he acknowledged God in all his ways and God directed his path to success (Proverbs 3:5-6).
We need to do everything in our power to find the flow of the presence of God and go along with it. We do not need to create our own agenda, we need to find out what God’s agenda is and flow into it; then our effectiveness will be enhanced.
Paul planned to move towards Asia in the work of the ministry but redirected by the Holy Spirit (Acts 16:6-10). It is not just enough to know what you should not do, part of maturity is to gain divine guidance.
Paul chains his life to the will of God, saying that he is the bondservant of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:1). A bondservant does not entertain a contrary opinion to his master’s. He is totally sold out to serve the purpose of another, and that determines his “flow.”
Jesus said that he has come to do the will of the father, he does what the father wants him to do, and says what he wants him to say.
Similarly, it is not about your idea, your preferences, the Holy Spirit should tell you where to go, who to be with, which job you should take. But these may be by stirring the circumstances of your life in a specific direction. The Holy Spirit stirs us in the right direction, the Holy Spirit is the wind. The direction he moves us is his manifestation as wisdom which results in our path shining brighter and brighter unto the perfect day (Proverbs 4:18). The plan of God for us is to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
We should move in the power of God. Jesus told the apostles that they will receive power after the Holy Spirit has come upon them (Acts 1:8). That was when they were about to embark on a task that will impact the whole world and they needed to be equipped. The windows of heaven opened, and the Holy Spirit came upon the people (Acts 2:1-4). And decades later, the message has reached most of the known world then, following a trail of the power of God.
The Holy Spirit is not only symbolised by a dove but also by fire, which was the form he manifested in the books of Acts to launch the disciples into their mighty role, to cover the earth with the gospel of Jesus.
They preached the word of God with boldness and many were converted. They moved with the same power that Jesus walked in while on the earth.
Peter said: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and he went about doing “good,” healing those who were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). He could not stay in one place with the power, he moved out, he touched others.
In the same way, he asked the disciples to move out, saying: they will be his witnesses in Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Later on Peter confirmed that in the new arrangement the Holy Spirit is a fellow witness (Acts 5:35). He is not just a bystander or an onlooker, he is entrusted with the task of glorifying the name of Jesus on the earth (John 16:14), as people are touched by the power of God.
The power dimension of the Holy Spirit is the loud dimension. It is the ground-breaking thunder-causing, earthquake causing dimension. It is the limit removing, the healing dimension.
The less water you have the less vegetation, the less life, so to speak. So water stands for life. Referring to that Jesus told a Samaritan woman that the water which she comes to get in a well regularly will not truly satisfy (John 4:1-15). It supplies limited life. Jesus told her that the water he gives (which is spiritual water) will become in her living water, springing up into eternal life. It is water with eternal spiritual quality.
We were dead in trespasses and sin, but Jesus comes to save us (Ephesians 2:1-6). Salvation is basically about life replacing death in us.
Humanity’s problem is not just about lack of information, but spiritual death; it is not wrong association, it is not wrong clothes, or manner, it is not wrong family background, or being born into the wrong religion, the problem is not economic. What Christ-less humanity lack is not method, skill, religious activities, but spiritual life.
God told Man in the Garden of Eden: if you eat the “wrong” fruit then you are going to die (Genesis 2:16-17). But he ate it. Therefore, everything wrong with man has a root, and the root is death because every good and perfect gift comes from God (James 1:17).
Jesus comes as the tree of life and he said “without him we can do nothing” because there is no other root to generate life in us (John 15:5). Paul talked about the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, and contrasted that with the spirit of death (Romans 8:1-3). We may have every other thing and not have spiritual life; but when we have spiritual life we truly have everything. We have God and that is everything.
Life is the transformation that comes to us, power is the transformation that we help others to get, and movement is about the two going on and on according to the purpose for God.