Tuesday within the Octave of Whitsunday
Scripture: Ezekiel 47:1-12 (NKJV)
1 Then he brought me back to the door of the temple; and there was water, flowing from under the threshold of the temple toward the east, for the front of the temple faced east; the water was flowing from under the right side of the temple, south of the altar. 2 He brought me out by way of the north gate, and led me around on the outside to the outer gateway that faces east; and there was water, running out on the right side.
3 And when the man went out to the east with the line in his hand, he measured one thousand cubits, and he brought me through the waters; the water came up to my ankles. 4 Again he measured one thousand and brought me through the waters; the water came up to my knees. Again he measured one thousand and brought me through; the water came up to my waist. 5 Again he measured one thousand, and it was a river that I could not cross; for the water was too deep, water in which one must swim, a river that could not be crossed. 6 He said to me, “Son of man, have you seen this?” Then he brought me and returned me to the bank of the river.
7 When I returned, there, along the bank of the river, were very many trees on one side and the other. 8 Then he said to me: “This water flows toward the eastern region, goes down into the valley, and enters the sea. When it reaches the sea, its waters are healed. 9 And it shall be that every living thing that moves, wherever the rivers go, will live. There will be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters go there; for they will be healed, and everything will live wherever the river goes. 10 It shall be that fishermen will stand by it from En Gedi to En Eglaim; they will be places for spreading their nets. Their fish will be of the same kinds as the fish of the Great Sea, exceedingly many. 11 But its swamps and marshes will not be healed; they will be given over to salt. 12 Along the bank of the river, on this side and that, will grow all kinds of trees used for food; their leaves will not wither, and their fruit will not fail. They will bear fruit every month, because their water flows from the sanctuary. Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for medicine.”
In today’s reading the prophet Ezekiel is shown a vision featuring flowing water. It begins at the very heart of the temple of God, springing up from the right side of the altar. The water streams out of the side of the temple, becoming a great river as it stretches toward the sea. These waters bring abundant life throughout the river valley, sustaining trees whose leaves never wither and whose fruits never fail, providing food and medicine. The waters also convey life to the sea, healing the saline waters and giving rise to exceedingly many fish.
This is a depiction of the living water of Holy Baptism. It is the water that flows from the very heart of God, the heart of Jesus, Whose body is the very Temple of God. This water flows out of His side, pierced by the soldier’s spear, after He has finished the work of atoning for the sins of the world. This flow of water becomes a mighty stream of grace as it is poured upon one’s head at the baptismal font, bringing healing to the sinner through the forgiveness of sins and delivering new and everlasting life through the Word, the Spirit, and the faith that are bound in and with the water. These waters bring abundant life to the Christian throughout his entire being, sustaining a never-withering faithfulness toward God and engendering a never-failing fruitfulness in love for our neighbor. Even as we continue to flounder in a sea polluted by our own sin, the living water continues to bring healing and life, forgiveness and salvation.
We pray: O Holy Spirit, put me daily in remembrance of my Holy Baptism, that the living waters once poured upon me may continue to deliver to me forgiveness, salvation, and abundant life; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.