“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city… (Revelation 22:1-2a)”
There’s something enchanting about a running river that is crystal clean. One of my favorite memories of Switzerland is the abundance of flowing water from springs, over waterfalls, down swiftly moving rivers. For these reasons I never tire of reading this section of scripture. Here we not only hear of a river, but one that is filled with “the water of life.” We hear the water described as bright as crystal - words that speak of purity. Sometimes people think of water pollution as being only a modern problem, but that’s not the case. Access to fresh clean water has always been highly sought after. The point is that this is an attractive image for every generation.
In the very first “Moment with the Word” I commented that as is often the case in good stories, the end of our great story causes us to remember the beginning. That’s true here; for as we hear of this river, our mind should quickly return to Eden, where a river ran through it to water the garden (Genesis 2:10). So, God will make the end like the beginning but on an even greater scale. The fact that the river runs through the middle of the street makes certain that we know that this is a prominent feature of the city - this life-giving water is abundantly available to all.
The prophet Ezekiel (47:1-12) also sees a river flowing from the renewed temple. That river makes everything it touches fresh, even the highly mineralized waters of the Dead Sea, so that living creatures and fish could flourish. Bright life-giving water that is abundantly available to all is a wondrous image of our true home - the eternal city. And I for one am glad that a river runs through it.