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The Parable of the Holy Waters (15 of 15)
Series: The Parables of the Old Testament
What would the earth be without a river? A river gives not only life, but beauty. Rivers are associated with the most beautiful landscapes, and in the Bible some of the best known and best loved scenes are those with a river in the foreground. Eden's chief glory is described in the sweet music of that ancient sentence, ''And a river went out of Eden to water the garden.'' When the psalmist wished to sing of the safety and peace of the holy city he said, ''There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacle of the most high.'' The last brilliant flash of divine revelation in the Apocalypse is one which discloses to us a ''pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb,'' on whose banks grew the tree of life which yielded her fruit every month.
So the Bible begins and ends with a river. I have always been thankful that my earliest days, the formative period of life, were spent on the banks of a river. Nothing in all nature has so much personality as a river, or so many moods. The river makes the child dream and ponder and wonder. It stirs him with its floodtide at the spring, fascinates him with its moonlit meanderings, or frightens him with its sorrow and tragedy when the drowned, with strangely white bodies and fixed, staring eyes, are taken out of its embrace.
If we lived in a dry and thirsty land, a river would mean even more to us than it does in a land where streams and rivers abound. This is why the literature of the Jews lays such great stress on the rivers. The Bible lands were, for the most part, dry and arid, and therefore the freshness and greenness along the river's bank meant all the more to the Jew. The Jew feared the sea, but loved the river. It was in keeping, then, with the life and thought of the Jew when Ezekiel, liv ...
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