The Divine Economy, by Witness Lee

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In this chapter we want to see the second crucial item in the garden—the flowing river. The tree is the embodiment, and the river is the flow. God is abstract and mysterious. Anything that is mysterious and abstract needs an embodiment. Even our human life needs a body to be its embodiment. The human life is embodied in our body, but this body needs a flow. We need to ask what the flow of our human life is. First, the current of the blood within us is the flow of our human life. When the current of blood stops, this means death. Second, our breathing is also the flow of our human life. If we stop breathing, we die. Our life flows inwardly by the blood and outwardly by our breath. We breathe all day long, and our blood flows all day long. We have to breathe, and our blood has to circulate freely for us to be healthy. The tree of life is the embodiment of life, but in order for this life to enter into us there is the need for it to flow. If this life does not flow, it cannot enter into us.

The cow life is embodied in the cow, so a cow is the embodiment of the cow life. But how can this cow life enter into us? The cow life needs a flow, and that flow is the milk. We can receive the cow life by drinking the milk. When a farmer milks a cow, the cow flows and this flow is "a river of milk." The milk of the cow is the river, the flow. Many children enjoy drinking the milk of the cow. The river of the cow is the milk.

When the children of Israel were traveling through the wilderness, there was no water. Then God told Moses to smite the rock, and this cleft rock flowed out living water for the people to drink (Exo. 17:6). In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul told us that the rock was Christ who followed the children of Israel in the wilderness (v. 4). That rock was the embodiment of God just like the tree of life. God was embodied in that rock, but how could that rock get into the people? The rock had to flow, so the living water flowed out of the rock for all the people to drink. When they drank of that rock, they drank of God. The water flowing out of the rock was the flowing of the divine life, just like the milk is the flowing of the cow life.

Whenever we drink milk we have to realize that this milk is the cow life flowing. The cow milk is the flow of the cow life. My mother worked for an American pastor. Whenever we children went to our pastor’s home, I smelled a cow. One day I asked my mother why I smelled a cow when I went to the pastor’s home. My mother replied, "Don’t you realize that the Americans drink the cow milk? The more they drink the cow milk, the more they smell like the cow." If we drink the "milk of Jesus" every day, eventually we will smell like Jesus. The milk of Jesus is the river of the divine life. The milk and the cow are one. The milk and the cow are not two things, but one thing in two stages. When the cow flows out, it becomes the milk. The milk in a glass is the flowing out of the cow. Thus, when we drink milk, we are drinking of the cow. In the garden there was the tree of life as the embodiment of the divine life, but this life has to flow out and into us for God’s dispensing. Along with the tree there is a river flowing, indicating that the divine life is flowing out for us to drink. When we drink of this river, the divine life is dispensed into our being.

The tree of life and the river of life are for God’s dispensing. God as the very divine life desires to dispense Himself into us. We have to understand the Bible, not merely according to the letter but according to the divine light, so we can see this marvelous picture of the tree of life with the river of life, which depicts that God is embodied and that God flows out and into us for the dispensing of Himself into our being.

(The Divine Economy, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)