In Ezekiel 47.1-12, Ezekiel has a vision of a river flowing from the temple. At first the angel shows him water that goes only up to his ankles. Then the water goes as high as Ezekiel’s knees then his waist and then so deep that he has to swim in order to stay afloat. He makes it back to the shoreline and as he looks around, he sees trees. These trees bear fruit all year round and the leaves have healing properties. The water that flows from the sanctuary gives the trees life. This same vision is spoken about in John 7 and Revelation 22: “On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:37-39) “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Rev 22:1-3) Even Joel speaks about this river in chapter 3 when he shares about the new wine and milk flowing from the hills and a fountain will flow out of the House of the Lord.
This vision was not just for Ezekiel but it is for us today. The water coming out from under the threshold of the Lord’s temple flowed toward the east. The stream of water flowed out of God’s presence. When we plunge deep within God’s presence and are engrossed in Him, we will produce fruit. God wants us to go to the River of life. He wants us to plunge beneath the waters and be totally submerged in Him.
Imagine that you are by the riverside. Most of us don’t mind getting our feet wet by the water’s edge. It feels good especially on a hot summer’s day. Some may even like having the water up to their knees, no worries about not being able to swim, just enjoying the coolness of the water lapping around you. A few may start panicking when the water begins to rise around their waist. It may seem a bit daunting as the water flows around us and we are not necessarily able to move as swiftly as before. It makes us feel uncomfortable. Then the water begins to be much deeper. Fear and panic stricken us and we feel as we cannot move. We have a choice, to fight against the water or go with the flow and swim.
Going deep with God is just like this water. We have a choice what we will do. Many Christians stay at the water’s edge getting their feet wet with a bit of the word on Sunday morning and maybe a Bible study during the week. Some may got a bit deeper in the water and spend a bit of time in the Word and prayer but only when it’s convenient, and let’s face it, life goes on and that time just passes by while we are only getting a little bit wet. A few more will plunge a bit deeper and allow God to minister to them and allow the water to be waist deep. They have a great knowledge of the Word, can seem just right with God, but there is a fear of going much deeper because this is comfortable enough. Why venture out more when this is familiar? We can keep God in our tidy schedules and boxes and not have to worry about being completely changed. I mean really, do we want the world think we’re barking mad? Do we really want to be classified as a Spirit filled, radical disciple of Jesus?
There are the few who are willing to go deeper and take the plunge beneath the waters and allow God to totally consume their lives. This is total surrender, something that is one not easy, and two not something to take lightly. I warn you, going deeper with God will be a radical revolution in our spiritual condition! The thing is the only Christ people will see is the One we make known. What would it be like if Jesus accompanied us in our daily living? Going deeper will take us out of our comfort zones. Brother Lawrence once said, “What I wanted was simply to belong totally to God, so I decided to give everything I could in order to attain the greatest blessing in return- knowing Him.”
How deep is our relationship with God? Paul tells us in Romans 12 verses 1 and 2 that we are to be living sacrifices, set apart for God and that we are not to conform to the world. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Living waters will flow through us and we will bear much fruit for the world to see and want when we are totally submerged in God. Jesus asks the same question of all of us will you come and follow Me? If we are willing to go deeper, we will be radically changed. The changes are not easy to go through, but well worth it. What’s more important to us, the temporal or the eternal?
God calls us to go deeper. He wants us to go deeper in our personal relationship with Him, deeper in His grace, mercy, love, worship, deeper in our commitment to Christ and our ministry to others. What are we going to do? Are we going to stay by the water’s edge just getting our feet wet, having a taste of Christ but missing out the greatest relationship that man could ever experience? Having the Word of God memorised is not going to get you into Heaven. In fact Jesus said there will be those who declare they know Him but He will tell them, I’m sorry I don’t know you. Let us not be one of those people left behind because we weren’t willing to give our lives to Him. Allow God to take you to the waters up to your knees. Here you are beginning to grow, getting know the Lord better and slowly changing to be more like Him. Don’t just stay there though, go further out. Keep moving forward to the waist level water. Many if not most of the church is hanging out at the waist water level. Don’t be afraid of God. Yes, there will be a radical change in your countenance and life, but it will be worth it. Allow the water to overflow you and pour out through you. Take the plunge. Don’t be scared of the unknown. The relationship with God here will be beyond what you can imagine.
Going deeper to the point that you are submerged and will have to go with the flow and swim, is a bit scary, but I promise it is well worth it. It will be uncomfortable at times, but God is always with you. He will carry you through. The more submerged you are in Him, the more His love will radiate from you. I pray that is our goal as the body of Christ that we will want others to see Christ in us. They don’t need to necessarily know our names, they need to know Jesus!
I’ll close with this thought… You have heard the proverb without vision, the people perish. Yet, without a revelation of God in a fresh new way, without plunging deeper with Him and His love, the people run wild! Are we running wild, splashing and playing in the water but not truly knowing Him? It is your choice how far out you will go. Don’t let the world or the enemy keep you back. Don’t worry about what others say. This is between you and God. How deep are you willing to go?