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The river of life – What is it?

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The river of life is discussed in the final chapter of the Bible, Revelation 22. Verses 1-2 read, "Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb through the middle of the street of the city."

Some teach the river of life is not an actual body of water because there will no longer be any sea (Revelation 21:1), nor moon or sun necessary for a hydrological cycle (Revelation 21:23). However, this description of the New Jerusalem would likely include known elements familiar to John such as water. Whether literal or figurative, the river of the water of life represents the eternal life flowing from God to all of His people.

The second half of Revelation 22:2 notes, "on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." This source of life, flowing from God, will bring forth nourishment and healing for the people.

The writer was so overwhelmed by the greatness of this future vision that his response was, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!" (Revelation 22:20). He understood that the Lord was the source of eternal life and that this eternal future state will be an amazing one worthy of high anticipation.

John 4 also offers a look at Jesus as the living water. In verses 13-14 he taught, "Everyone who drinks of this water [regular water drawn daily from a well] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

In John 7:37-38, Jesus offered Himself as living water to the Jews: "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" Old Testament Scriptures related to this idea include Isaiah 44:3; 55:1; 58:11; and Zechariah 14:8.

Some have also noted the beginning of water at creation as now being presented as a perfect source of eternal life from God in the new heavenly city. A river originally was mentioned as flowing out of Eden to water the garden (Genesis 2:10) yet was only temporary. This water of the river of life came from God Himself and not only nourished the tree of life but provides life to all who live with Him.

Related Truth:

What does the Bible say about the new heavens and the new earth?

What does the Bible say about the New Jerusalem?

Will there be food in heaven? Will we eat in heaven?

If we still die, what does it mean that we have everlasting life?

Is heaven real?

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