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.
This is not about geography. We’re not sure what the Pishon is, but the other rivers are nowhere near each other. They are all the most significant rivers in the Middle East: they are where major civilizations began because they bring life giving water into dry places. They bring fertility and prosperity – not just enough: they each flood to bring an excessive bounty. Here we have a picture of abundant life and sustenance and blessing and prosperity flowing from the place where God is, to be a generous blessing to the whole world.
It reminds me of the vision in Ezekiel 47:1-12 of a river flowing out from the temple (again the place of God’s presence) to bless the whole world. It starts as a trickle and builds into a flood, cleaning what is poisoned (the Dead Sea), giving life to what is dead and making what is barren fruitful. God takes Ezekiel right into that river of life, at first up to his ankles, then wading up to his knees, and then so deep he would have to swim to cross it.
Then Jesus tells us in John 7:37-39 that the He is the source of this blessing. All who believe in Jesus will have rivers of living water flowing out from them. That river of life is the Holy Spirit.
God’s overwhelming river of blessing, his Holy Spirit, flows out from his presence. As we immerse ourselves in him that river of life doesn’t just flow out to us, it flows through us to bless and give life to the whole world.
Oh Holy Spirit, don’t just flow – flood through me today. Bring life and blessing to all around me.
Written by David Cornell