Ezekiel had a vision of a river flowing out from the Jerusalem Temple towards the Dead Sea. As the river reached the sea, it turned the saltwater into fresh water. Swarms of living creatures followed the flow of the river, and all variety of fruit trees grew along the banks. Ezekiel tells us “where the river flows, life abounds” (Ezek47:9). In the desert area of the Dead Sea, that is a massive transformation.
In Ezekiel’s vision there is an outward movement from the Temple to the surrounding area, and everything touched turns to life. I think sometimes our expectation is that the goodness of God will draw people in – that they’ll see from a distance and move towards the ‘Temple’. But here, the picture is of the river of God’s generosity actively moving towards the dead places. The direction of the flow is outwards.
This is challenging for us. The longer life goes on, the easier it is to settle down and move out of the flow that takes us to uncomfortable people and places. But not so with God. At the most fundamental level, God actively moves toward those in need of life. And He calls us to follow. So, which way will you go?