A kind of New Year message adapted from a talk given by Tim Harrold at Corringham Baptist Church on 31.12.17

Ezekiel 47:1-12 The Message

AA river 21-2 Now he brought me back to the entrance to the Temple. I saw water pouring out from under the Temple porch to the east (the Temple faced east). The water poured from the south side of the Temple, south of the altar. He then took me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the gate complex on the east. The water was gushing from under the south front of the Temple.

3-5 He walked to the east with a measuring tape and measured off fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet, leading me through water waist-deep. He measured off another fifteen hundred feet. By now it was a river over my head, water to swim in, water no one could possibly walk through.

6-7 He said, “Son of man, have you had a good look?”
Then he took me back to the riverbank. While sitting on the bank, I noticed a lot of trees on both sides of the river.

8-10 He told me, “This water flows east, descends to the Arabah and then into the sea, the sea of stagnant waters. When it empties into those waters, the sea will become fresh. Wherever the river flows, life will flourish—great schools of fish—because the river is turning the salt sea into fresh water. Where the river flows, life abounds. Fishermen will stand shoulder to shoulder along the shore from En-gedi all the way north to En-eglaim, casting their nets. The sea will teem with fish of all kinds, like the fish of the Great Mediterranean.

11 “The swamps and marshes won’t become fresh. They’ll stay salty.

12 “But the river itself, on both banks, will grow fruit trees of all kinds. Their leaves won’t wither, the fruit won’t fail. Every month they’ll bear fresh fruit because the river from the Sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will be for food and their leaves for healing.”

The fish represent salvation

  • The fish are the fishers of men, disciple-making disciples (potentially, exponential multiplication).
  • Where the fish are, there is Jesus’ life, healing, presence, breakthrough, joy, activation, release…
  • The River Jordan is in constant fresh flow, but the Dead Sea is at a stagnant stop, but when the riiver is allowed to enter the sea, life cannot but help flourish and teem.
  • It’s a picture of heaven invading earth – “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
  • When and where heaven invades earth, the miraculous appears in the humdrum and the extraordinary becomes ordinary.

AA river 1Father doesn’t want us to particpate in this abundant life…

  • … at an ankle deep level…
  • … or at a knee deep level…
  • … or at a waist deep level…
    • … but at a level too deep to keep our feet on the bottom!

Like any Dad with his kids in the swimming pool…

  • Father encourages us to take our feet off the bottom.
  • He draws us from the shallows into the depths.
  • This is our faith responding to his love.
  • Flow in the river, and let the river flow in us.
  • Let Father carry us deeper into his depths where deep calls to deep.

The deeper we go…

  • there’s less dead sea and more teeming life
  • there’s less religion and more relationship
  • there’s less busyness (‘Martha-ing’) and more rest (‘Mary-ing)
  • there’s less fear and more freedom
  • less going through the motions and more going with the flow
  • less shyness and more boldness
    • this about coming to know our identity in Christ
    • the less you know who God isn’t, the more you know who you are
  • there’s less absence and more presence

AA river 3No time spent in Holy Spirit’s presence is wasted.

  • If Holy Spirit’s presence doesn’t go with us, what will distinguish us?
  • Holy Spirit’s presence has to be central, has to come first.
  • Be on the look out for his presence in our environments – wherever we are, if we feel it, lean in, honour his presence.
  • Listen to his directions, his words for others – we have the mind of Christ.
  • Don’t let the presence of God pass by but grab with both hands


  • 8 is both the number of completion and a new beginning, like the end and start of a new octave.
  • 8 is also symbolised by a gate in Hebrew.
  • Let’s go through the gate of the 8 – and go deeper!

Photos taken on Boxing Day 2017 at Purfleet and Rainham Marshes by the author