The Church and the River of God


The Church and the River of God

By Duncan and Kate Smith

“Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb.” Revelation 22:1

What a beautiful picture for us as a church! The River of God is the water of life. It flows from the throne, out into the Dead Sea and where it hits the Dead Sea, it brings life.

We love that Catch The Fire is a movement of churches birthed in the River of God’s Presence. But the river was never designed to stay in the church, rather to overflow and bring transformation to the world.

We will see creation thrive as we learn what the River of God looks like, and where it’s meant to go.

The River Flows from the Throne

The throne of God is the place of worship. As we sit at His feet to praise and adore Him, music is released, full of His Presence and power. Yielded lovers find revelation and vision for the things that God is calling them to.

This is where new dreams and ideas are born. Vision for church plants, books, medical breakthroughs, business startups, humanitarian work, and far more besides. Just as in Acts 3, the result of worship and prayer is that we hear God’s heart for mission. As we worship, our hearts are set on fire for Jesus and the things that He loves. Jesus desires the nations as His inheritance, and that becomes our desire too.

We’re Invited to go Deep

God always invites us deeper. We first step into the river near the throne of God. By the time we are knee deep, the river is beginning to get hold of us, and by the time we are at shoulder height, the river has control. This is the place of encounter and immersion; Presence, and intimacy.

The world is hungry for a genuine touch of God, for the manifestation of His Presence. As we go deeper into the river, people will be drawn into their own encounters, just as Joshua followed Moses as He dwelled with God in the tent of meeting.

The River is Abundant

A church immersed in the river is full of life. Full of people who are on fire for God, experiencing His transforming Presence and incredible love. People who are walking in their union with Christ and intimacy with Jesus. Believers who hear God’s voice and walk in obedience to His will, empowered by the Holy Spirit.

As the river flows, love and grace are manifested. We expect the Presence of Jesus to be made known, to experience Him and receive from Him. Holy Spirit really is in control, and leaders learn to follow His flow.

As we experience true abundance in the river, we develop a desire for the river to flow into our cities and nations.

The River Can’t Stay Inside the Church

The river must have an outlet. In Ezekiel 47 there’s no fish where the water comes out of the throne, but when the River of God hits the Dead Sea, there’s overflowing life.

The Dead Sea is a picture of the world. Right now, in the natural, where the Jordan river hits the Dead Sea, the waters are dead. But in Ezekiel, the waters are healed wherever God’s river goes. The purpose of God is that the river should flow from us and out into the world around us. That’s our invitation: to see the world that is dead in religion and dead not realizing the saving grace of Jesus, come alive in the love and power of Jesus. We’re invited to take part in the end-time billion soul harvest.

The Church is a Tree of Life

A church community that is having multiple ongoing encounters with God’s transforming Presence becomes a life-giving tree to the world. It becomes a delta into the dead sea, where the streams spread out. It becomes a glorious gateway for the River of God to hit the community around it. It becomes a vessel, a container for the wine of His Presence to reach the world.

God is looking for the whole world to encounter His transforming Presence. Every one of us has a part to play. As we encounter the Father, we feel His liquid golden honey love transform us deeply. Then we’re called to go, dripping in liquid love, sharing the beauty of the Presence and the Kingdom with the world around us.

LeadershipAnita Wing Lee