The River of God

10 A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. 11 The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 (The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there.) 13 The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. 15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
(Genesis 2:10-15)
37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” 39 By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified.  
(John 7:37-39)
The Bible begins with a man and a woman at the head of a river which flows out to water the world. The Garden of Eden only covered a tiny fraction of the earth, but Adam and Eve were told to work it and to take care of it until it grew to cover the entire earth. The Lord commanded them to increase in number, fill the earth and rule in partnership with him. We can therefore see these four rivers as a picture of God’s plan to fill us with his Holy Spirit and to empower us to extend his Kingdom rule out into the world.

Sadly, Adam and Eve reject partnership with God. At the end of Genesis 3, they are cast out of the garden and into the lonely wasteland that lies beyond its walls. They can no longer drink from the waters of paradise. They begin to experience the pain of a dry and dusty world that still cries out in memory of the lost, life-giving River of God.

But the Bible is the glorious account of how Jesus restores men and women back to the source of the River. The Old Testament prophesies about it in famous passages, such as Ezekiel 47, where the River of God flows out from God’s people to bring life to the arid deserts of our fallen world. In these verses from John 7, Jesus stands up and declares that all those Scripture promises are fulfilled in him. He has placed the Kingdom of God deep inside the hearts of all his followers. He has begun to recreate the Garden of Eden within us, and he promises to cause the Holy Spirit to flow out from within us to transform the people all around us.
1)   Jesus assures us that these things are true for “whoever believes in me.” So, do you believe him? If you do, then tell him so. Thank Jesus that, through his work for us, God now places men and women at the head of his River.

2)   Jesus tells us that this promise is for “anyone who is thirsty.” So, are you thirsty? Thirsty people need to open their mouths in order to drink, so open your mouth to express your thirst and to receive the Holy Spirit.

3)   Where can you see ‘dry and dusty desert places’ around you? Which friends and situations particularly need to feel the touch of God through you today? Ask the Lord to help you to direct the River of God towards them.
Father God, great rivers flowed from the Garden of Eden – the Euphrates and the Tigris are famous! – but thank you that an even greater River flows out from within me. Please fill me with your Holy Spirit. Enable me to direct your River out to those around me today, so that they can taste heaven’s power flowing out to them through me. Amen.
If you have time, consider carrying on your conversation with God using one of our helpful Prayer Pathways.
Today’s Everyday Devotions have also inspired a devotional video that you can watch on our YouTube channel.