THE RIVER OF WATER OF LIFE PROCEEDING OUT OF THE THRONE OF GOD AND OF THE LAMB
The sixth item we need to consider concerning the New Jerusalem is the river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb (22:1). When we have God as light in the redemption of the redeeming One, Christ, and when we are under the authority and recognize the headship and lordship of Christ, and when we experience the divine nature among us, there is always a flow of life, a living stream, flowing among us. This flowing of the living water is the fellowship of the entire city, and it is the source, the fountain, the well, of the supply for the entire city. Where the flow of the river reaches, there the supply is ministered. This flow of the living stream comes out of the lordship and the headship realized by us in the redemption of Christ with the light of God. If we give up the headship of the Lord in the church and do not recognize the divine authority, there is no possibility for us to have the living stream flowing among us all the time. Suppose that we as a group of believers come together to realize the oneness of the Body of Christ and try to have the church life, yet whenever we come together, every one quarrels with one another. If so, do you believe there is the possibility of having the living stream flowing among us? There is no possibility. As long as the throne of God is gone, the source of the living water is also gone, because the living water comes out of the throne of God. As long as you do not have the headship, the lordship, of Christ realized in the divine order, you have lost the source of the living water. If we realize the lordship, the headship, of Christ in the divine authority in the redemption of the redeeming One and in the light of God, the river of living water constantly flows to bring the life supply to us.
What is this river of living water? No doubt, it is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. John 7:37-39 confirms this. In verse 38 the Lord told us that he who believes into Him, as the Scripture said, out of his innermost being shall flow rivers of living water. Then verse 39 says, “This He said concerning the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit whom the Lord ministers to us is a flowing river of water of life within us. Hence, in the picture of the New Jerusalem there is God the Father as the light, God the Son as the redeeming One, and God the Spirit as the flowing One. Light is with God the Father, redemption is with God the Son, and life is with God the Spirit. Therefore, He is called the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2). God as life to us is always flowing. First, He flows out in the Son, and then He flows out as the Spirit. He is the light, He accomplished redemption in the Son, and He flows out as the Spirit to be the life supply. Here is the light, the lamp, and the river, and here is the Triune God. The light is the Father, the lamp is the Son, and the river is the Spirit. In the church life, if we realize the headship of Christ in the light by His redemption, we have the Spirit flowing all the time within us and among us as the life supply. This is a requirement for the church life. If we do not have this, we will be thirsty and dried up.
THE TREE OF LIFE GROWING IN THE FLOW OF THE LIVING WATER
The seventh aspect of the New Jerusalem is that the tree of life grows in the flow of the living water (Rev. 22:2). This means that where the flowing of the living water is, there is the life supply. The tree of life is Christ as life and the life supply to us. That the tree of life grows in the river means that Christ as our life supply is available to us in the flow of the Spirit. If you have the Spirit, you have Christ as the tree of life, the life supply.
As the church, we must have the flow of the Spirit. In this flow of the Spirit we have the supply of Christ; that is, we have Christ as the supply. Merely to preach doctrines and teachings does not work. We must have Christ ministered to us as the life supply through the flow of the Spirit. Whenever we come together, there must be the flow of the stream, and in this flow of the stream there is the supply of Christ, Christ ministered to us as the life supply. Brothers and sisters, it is useless to argue about the way to meet. We need to check ourselves by asking, “Is our meeting full of Christ as the supply ministered to us?” This is a real test. In any kind of meeting of the church life, there must be Christ ministered as the life supply in the flowing stream of the Holy Spirit. Every kind of meeting must be checked concerning the ministering of Christ as the living supply.
In the church life, we must have Christ supplied and ministered to us as the life supply in the flow of the Holy Spirit. Revelation 22:1-2 indicates the riches of the supply of Christ. There are twelve different kinds of fruit, fresh and rich. Christ is not limited or poor. He is unlimited and unsearchably rich (Eph. 3:8). We must always have something new and fresh of Christ to minister to His people. Even in our singing of hymns we must not be old or poor. Day by day, week by week, month after month, and year after year, we should not be satisfied with singing the same hymns over and over. Is Christ this poor? We need to try to write more new hymns to bring in the riches of Christ in the flow of the Holy Spirit. I have heard much singing of the Psalms, but I do not sense much supply of Christ in those Psalms. There are more riches of Christ in books such as Ephesians, Colossians, and Philippians. All these books contain the riches of Christ. In some of the Psalms we are told to shout and to cry aloud. However, we may give a poor shout, a poor cry, with nearly nothing of Christ. In the meetings we must have something of the riches of Christ ministered to the Lord’s people as the life supply. We must bring Christ as the new fruits, as the fresh supply.
(The Central Thought of God, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)