Recently I have been singing at home more and am questioning whether I understand all of the words i.e. understand what I’m singing about!! “There is a river whose streams make glad the city of our God!” What does this mean? Does it mean that the river-water from the throne washes us like I think it does? Sorry it’s probably easy to explain but I want to know that I am on the right lines. The whole song and I do love it. I don’t think I have got it all and I really want to. I don’t want to miss anything- I think I only get a fraction of it and I want it all!!!
Hi, Questioner, Welcome aboard! You will be sleeping in the downstairs cabin till you are acclimatised to the rolling of the ship. Make yourself at home, then you can come on deck with the rest of us.
Ah, welcome back on deck.
If you look over the side, you will see the River. It is the same one as in the quote you gave from Ps 46, and it is a very strange river.
If you look just over there, no, just a little to the right of that, you will see the heart of the sea (Ps 46 2 – I hope you are not just reading this without looking up the references – otherwise what am I doing all this work for?).
Anyway, notice how the heart of the sea has mountains which fall into it,(Ps 46 3) which makes the waters roar – as it would wouldn’t it? And then the “surging” of the waters, which seriously shakes the mountains (getting its own back, I presume).
And now the weird thing, this river (Ps 46 4), just dip your hand in – feel it? Now take a mouthful from this pot we dipped in – can you feel the surge of Gladness? Like a sudden rise in the level of your emotions, the Gladness – I have to use a capital “G”, because the effect is too strong for a small one – this Gladness swells inside you when you come into contact with it.
Just contrast the waters of Ps 46 2 and 3 out there – frightening, making everything shake – with this river just here from Ps 46 4; calm and placid-looking, until you taste it, then it fills you up inside till you feel like shouting for Joy – I need another capital letter for that one.
Now notice that the River has this effect for the whole City – you didn’t notice the city? It’s there, no, look the other direction from the sea, filling the whole horizon on both sides of the River – are you blind? Oh, you were fascinated by the River – yes it’s a well known effect.
Anyway, drag your gaze off the River for a moment and look over there – hundreds of millions of people, maybe billions, live in that city.
Did you know that’s where we are heading? Yes, you are going to join them, you are carrying the correct invitation, your name is down on our passenger list – all the favourites of the Ruler of the City.
Too big? Why, Lord bless you, my dear, the City isn’t too big, everyone who lives there is another one – a favourite, just like you. The City is just like home to all of you, all the same, all favourites.
Ah, I understand, you were wondering how you could find everything you need to live in that huge City, Well I suppose you’ll have to look very hard before you find a Supermarket! Har Har Har Har – sorry, that’s just an old sailor’s laugh, you know.
Well, let’s deal with it a bit at a time – see those trees? Well from this distance you can just see if you look very hard, there is only one Tree, but it spans over the River. You won’t see from here, but from every branch hang the most amazing fruit – they taste like everything you’ve ever wanted to eat.
And you’ll find more variety in that fruit than all your old earthy food – what? – chocolate? No, not a patch on this, you can roll up all your cream cakes, chips, fudge, pork pies, mashed potatoes, biscuits, meat and two veg and everything, and you’ll happily drop them over the side when you taste this stuff.
And the leaves – there is a major industry shipping the leaves out to the Nations, (by the way, we are in Rev 22 1 now – check it out). They are being healed as we speak.
And to drink? Now we are getting nearer – can you see those channels – they run under the city, to every part. Wherever you are, you can reach down your cup, and dip it in this water – here, let me show you, take another sip – STEADY! – you nearly went over that time, just notice how the effect is much stronger than the first sip – can you start to taste the sweetness this time? It gets stronger every time, by the way; the taste doesn’t lessen as you drink it like earthy drinks do.
Anyway, wherever you are in the city, you can just drink this water – we call it “Life Water”, by the way. I understand – you wonder how anybody gets anything done with this stuff to drink – well that’s the interesting part. Your earthy drinks tend to put you to sleep, but this Life Water makes you more alive! You should be noticing the effect by now – Yes?
So, if you want to see what you’ll be getting as soon as we land in the City, O Chosen One, check out Ps 36 8, “They feast on the abundance of your house; you give them to drink from your River of Delights”.
You should be getting a bit of the Delight around now – here, have another glass.
So where did this water come from, you ask? Well it has been around for a long time, Look back in Gen 2 10 for the prototype.
Then Moses got some – you remember he got water from a rock? Well that was just God’s little joke. This River is the real Water from the real Rock! God likes doing that sort of thing – it’s his sense of humour. You’ll get it after a while here.
Oh, so you want to know where it comes from? Your curiosity does you credit, O One Honoured by God. Well, Ezekiel saw this River with his Prophetic eye, I think it was his left one – no, sorry, that was my own little joke, we all get it here – it’s the Gladness that does it – you’ll learn. He noticed that it came from under the Temple – that’s the Place of God’s Throne, of course. It’s all written in Ezekiel 47, 1-12 – Didn’t they give you Bibles where you came from?
Then Daniel got in on the act, he was a special one, Daniel, and he saw the River right at it’s beginning, right from under the Throne of God. (Dan 7 10) As you’d expect, that close to the Presence, the River looked more like fire than water, but this is all the same stuff. You finished that glass already? How are you at standing up? Pretty good! You’ll be an old hand by the time we get to the City.
You’re still curious? OK, I’ll give you the real low-down, just because you insist, mind, it usually takes several weeks in the City before people find this out – ready? Well the River is none other than God Himself! It’s His own Holy Spirit. Look that way, and see how He is shaking up the Nations of the world with that sea you read about in Ps 46.
Now look the other way and see how the very same River of Life is nourishing the people of God in the City. Same Water, totally different effect, depending on whether you choose to be one of the Chosen, or not. You chose, and here you are – Look we’ll be landing soon, you can just see someone there on the bank to show you how to eat from the Tree of Life – and seeing as I’m revealing more to you because you’re curious, I bet you already know who the Tree of Life is? Just think who it is you can “take from and live for ever”; Genesis 3 22 will help if you’re stuck.
Well, it’s been a pleasure to talk to you at last, O Most Favoured One of God, – Oh, sorry, of course, you didn’t know – yes, I’ve known you for a long time, a very long time, but you’ve not been aware that I was around, so I know you considerably better than you know me, and of course this is the first chance we’ve had to talk so you can hear me. Yes, I’m an angel, and yes I was the one assigned to you through your whole life, to watch over you and bring you to this City. I’ve loved being with you – and d’you know what I enjoyed most? It was when you were singing about God and worshiping Him, because that is the nearest you can get on earth to drinking from this River.
Now, will you have another glass before we land?