The last part of John’s vision of New Jerusalem showed him The River of Life and the Tree of Life. Verse 1 reads,
“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”
John doesn’t say the water is crystal clear but bright as crystal. It shines. It is more than mere water, it is the water of life and it flows from its source the throne of God and the Lamb. The water of life is the water Jesus gives to those who seek Him, who are thirsty to know Him, who are parched with need of Him. The water of life utterly sates that desperate need and gives eternal life. Jesus explained the water of life, the water only He can give to the Samaritan woman in John 4:13-14.
“Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The water of life does not simply slake our thirst eternally it flows out of each of us and gives eternal life. Eternal life does not refer only to our lives after the resurrection it refers to our lives now and from the moment we were sealed and filled with The Holy Spirit. Eternal life is life lived with our eyes on the invisible things, the heavenly things, the Kingdom of God. It is active, faithful, and missional. It affects other people. A spring of water flowing out like that is not meant solely for the individual it flows from, it is meant to give it others, so they too can drink from it and be satisfied and they too can have a spring of living water welling from them.
Our spirit-filled life in Jesus Christ, our eternal life begins now and it is abundant and active. It does not watch life from a pew, it lives. Jesus said, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Believer, you may think you do not have anything to offer but that is a lie! You have a never ending river of life flowing out of you. You have the Holy Spirit, the gifts He gave you and the Gospel of Truth. You need nothing else.
John saw more in His vision. Verse 2 reads,
“through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”
The Tree of Life is there right next to the river of water of life. Until the time of New Jerusalem the Tree of Life has been hidden and guarded. Genesis 2:8-10 describes it.
“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. 9 And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
10 A river flowed out of Eden to water the garden, and there it divided and became four rivers.”
Adam and Eve lived in that beautiful place and God gave them only one restriction. They could not eat the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Genesis 2:16-17). But, they did and in order to protect them from eating from the Tree of Life and living forever in their cursed state, the Lord removed them from the garden and assigned a cherubim with a flaming sword to guard the garden and the tree (Genesis 3:22-23).
That is the tree that is in New Jerusalem; the tree with twelve kinds of fruit with leaves that heal the nations, the tree so big it lines both sides of The River of Life. The Tree of Life or its eternal life giving character is described in Proverbs in a few ways. Wisdom is a tree of life (Proverbs 3:18). The fruit of righteousness is a tree of life (Proverbs 11:30). Fulfilled desire is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12). Gentleness, especially of speech is a tree of life (Proverbs 15:30). These are life giving ways of living. When we are wise, good, generous, or gentle, we are glorifying Christ and giving life to those around who enjoy the fruit of the Spirit we express. The character we express as we live is the way we glorify (look, act, and become like) Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 reminds us what the qualities of The Spirit of God are.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
The Tree of Life is the source of Life. Its fruit causes the person who enjoys it to live forever, there is healing in its leaves. It is a real representation of Jesus, the Author of life with healing in His wings (Acts 3:15, Malachi 4:2). Jesus came to give us life and give it abundantly (John 10:10). He is the healer, not only of the body but of the spirit and soul as well. Isaiah 61:1-3 reads,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.”
Just as we are indwelled with springs of water that flow out of us as the Holy Spirit fills us and flows out of us, so too are we called oaks of righteousness like Jesus our Tree of Life. He brings good news to the poor, binds up the brokenhearted, proclaims liberty to the captives, comforts those who mourn, and gives beauty instead of ashes. Glorifying Him with the living water of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control means we are bringing good news, binding broken hearts, comforting and proclaiming freedom as Jesus does. We are to love as Jesus loves. In John 15:12 Jesus said, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
Believer, you have a spring of living water flowing out of you, you have abundant life. Share it.