Friday, August 14, 2009

The River Runs Backwards: The Gospel According to Joe

Everybody knows how the river flows. A thousand tiny streams converge into one mighty river, right? That's the way of the world, especially in the affairs of men. A thousand little peons wear t-shirts for one big mega musician, or a rock-star politician or a pin-up preacher.

But that's not God's way; God's river runs backward.

And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of [the city], and on either side of the river, there grew the tree of life, which bare twelve sorts of fruits, yielded every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
[Revelation 22]

You may have recognized that the Tree of Life mentioned here in Revelation appeared first in Genesis, in the Garden of Eden. But did you also recognize the river? The river that watered Eden branched out and became the four great rivers of the Earth. Notice that here the river of Life does not aggregate and flow to God's throne, it flows from a single, wonderful point, and it winds or branches whereeveer it will. This God-river turns up in Ezekiel 47 in vivid detail, and we see the water coming from under the altar, and "swarms of living live wherever the river flows." Then, instead of blending in the saltwater of the sea, the sea turns fresh when they meet. Earth redeemed, a gallon at a time.

So what's that got to do with you? St. John captures Jesus at his quotable best in John 7:38:

If any man thirst, let him come to me, and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." This he spoke of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive. [Jn 7:38]

Dude, do you see it? If we drink from the river, we're The Immortals. Mere mortals are like Adam, "living souls" who will die; But we, like Jesus, become "lifegiving spirits." Eternal springs of life.

Yeah. This river runs backwards.

[Joe B]


Anonymous said...

I love this article because it says so much what I always believe about God and faith with God. But it sounds different that everything in my religion. I know the doctrines and catechism (of Lutheran especially), bu I do not know a doctrine for this idea. But like it say, there is the very big vision of the bible. Can I say what you left out Joe B? The river comes from the throne (and the Ezekiel temple it replaced). The river comes from Jesus, not from the earth.

-Rennar Hoelsk

It is good to be back, but my Yahoo log in does not work now. Was gone away too long.

Deb said...

It's like the un-river.


I'm picturing God as a bald black man with an earring and a Jamaican accent now....

(I hope that doesn't offend anyone. I've always been under the impression that God enjoys a giggle as much as anyone.)

Joe B said...

The best commercials ever, weren't they?

Eutychus said...

Great bibilical message, Joe B. And rennar (who ARE you, Rennar? I can't even get a hit on Google!), I agree, it seems like a big deal biblically, but doctrinally? Who ever preaches this idea? There's no name for it. (Any helpful theologians out there to help us, or do you just show up to slap us around?)

Anyway, my take on what the river/s of God teaches us: Accumulating and concentrating resources and power leads finally to destruction (like the Captains and Kings of rev 18, Babylons fall.) But God's way is to keep dividing what we have, and by dividing it it never decreases. Think fishes and loaves, and not storing up stuff in barns, and a seed that falls to the ground, taking up your cross, and Obi-Wan Kenobi taking a flop (wait, that's not in the bible is it?).

It's the amazing principle of faith, and it can't be grasped fully as long as were striving to get by and survive.

"There's something more profitable than surviving. Follow Jesus and discover what it is"