One of the more encouraging passages in the Bible, for those who serve and obey God, is Revelation 22:1-5, discussing the river in the New Jerusalem and the presence of the tree of life that serves for the healing of the nations : “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever.” In this particular passage we see that part of the joy of the new heavens and new earth will be the opportunity for people to eat the tree of life for healing. There are a few suggestions that one can easily make from this passage–for one, you can see that the healing of believers from the scars and wounds of life is a matter of great importance to God, but it must also be noted that if the tree must be eaten for the healing of the nations that healing will not occur all at once by divine fiat, but it will take time, and will be part of a process.
Nor is this the only passage that refers to waters and trees that are for healing, for it is written in Ezekiel 47:7-12: “When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.” Here we see that not only in the world to come, but in the millennial kingdom, there will be a river of life coming out of Jerusalem with trees whose fruit and leaves serve as food and as medicine for the healing of all life that interacts with it.
When we think of the healing of water, we must be concerned not only about physical water, but also about the healing influence of the Holy Spirit. After all, several passages of the Bible deal with the relationship between the Holy Spirit and water. In John 7:37-39, for example, it reads: “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” The drinking of the water does not only lead to healing for ourselves, but if we drink of the Holy Spirit waters will flow out of ourselves, for the healing of others. We cannot think only for ourselves, but we must think of others as well, and as we find healing in God through the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives, our lives will end up helping and encouraging others.
When we look at passages that deal with water and healing, there are a few patterns that we can uncover. For one, ultimately the healing comes from God, whether through waters or through the Spirit. For another, the healing is not designed to be exclusive or selfish, but is designed to be given widely and with generosity. Likewise, healing is a process. It is not merely a one-time process, but an ongoing one. So long as we are only focused on ourselves, we find our own healing short-circuited, and once we are able to experience healing in relationships and with other people, we can find ourselves not only improving and growing, but also helping other people to find their own healing. We live in a world that is full of broken people, and it is fortunate for us that God is in the business of restoration, often through His servants. Let us hope that we can play a role in helping to bring restoration and healing to our world, and in so doing, may we see it in our own lives.
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